Introduction: The C allele of the nonsynonymous Arg265His (rs3733591) variant of SLC2A9 confers risk for gout in Han Chinese, Solomon Island and Japanese samples, with a stronger role in tophaceous gout. There is no evidence for an association with gout in Caucasian populations. In the present study, we tested rs3733591 for association with gout in New Zealand (NZ) Māori, Pacific Island and Caucasian samples.Methods: Rs3733591 was genotyped across gout patients (n = 229, 232 and 327 NZ Māori, Pacific Island and Caucasian samples, respectively) and non-gout controls (n = 343, 174 and 638 Māori, Pacific Island and Caucasian samples, respectively). Further Caucasian sample sets consisting of 67 cases and 4,712 controls as well as 153 cases and 6,969 controls were obtained from the Framingham Heart Study and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, respectively. The Polynesian samples were analyzed according to Eastern and Western Polynesian ancestry.Results: No evidence for risk conferred by the C allele of rs3733591 with gout was found in the sample sets of NZ Māori (odd ratio (OR) = 0.98, P = 0.86), Eastern Polynesians (OR = 0.99, P = 0.92), Western Polynesians (OR = 1.16, P = 0.36) or combined Caucasians (OR = 1.15, P = 0.13). The C allele was significantly overrepresented in Māori tophaceous cases compared to cases without tophi (OR = 2.21, P = 0.008), but not in the other ancestral groupings.Conclusions: Noting that our study's power was limited for detecting weak genetic effects, we were unable to replicate associations of rs3733591 with gout in Eastern Polynesian, Western Polynesian and Caucasian samples. However, consistent with a previous study of Han Chinese and Solomon Island populations, our data suggest that rs3733591 could be a marker of severe gout in some populations. Our results also suggest that the effect of this variant is population-specific, further confirming population heterogeneity regarding the association of SLC2A9 with gout. © 2011 Merriman et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.