The human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I chain-related gene A (MICA) has a high degree of genetic diversity. Several methods have been used in MICA typing. Recent studies reported different results for the same reference cell lines typed by different methods. By searching the GenBank, we found an indel polymorphism in MICA intron 1 corresponding to the area where one of the sequencing-based typing primers used by others is located. We investigated this polymorphism in 43 reference samples by primer cycle sequencing. This approach revealed three haplotype-specific patterns of polymorphisms in intron 1. This study provided evidence that one of the primers commonly used in MICA typing may fail to amplify both alleles in certain heterozygous combinations. Our data showed a correlation between the three patterns in MICA intron 1 and exon 5 short tandem repeat (STR) alleles. Being neutral ones, the intron 1 and STR polymorphisms appeared to mark the ancestral lineages better than the coding region polymorphisms. © 2004 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.