Advanced maternal age is the only fully accepted risk factor for trisomy 21, while most children with Down syndrome (DS) are born to younger mothers (<35 years). The relationship between chromosomal nondisjunction leading to aneuploidy and folate metabolism has drawn attention in the recent years. In this study, we examined the two polymorphisms in genes encoding the folate metabolizing enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), namely, 677C > T and 1298A > C. The prevalence of these variant genotypes in mothers of DS children (case mothers) (n = 152) was compared with controls (n=91). Frequencies of MTHFR 677C > T genotypes (CC, CT, and TT) and also combination of heterozygous and homozygous variant genotypes (CT or TT) (P = 0.28) demonstrated no difference between the case and control groups. Genotype frequencies of MTHFR 1298A > C (AA, AC, and CC) were similar among the case and control mothers. Variant genotypes of MTHFR 1298A > C (AC or CC) were also insignificant when compared between the two groups. This is yet the largest case-control study conducted for MTHFR 677C > T and also the first to investigate a possible relation with MTHFR 1298A > C. The data presented in this study fail to support the relationship between MTHFR 677C > T and 1298A > C polymorphisms and risk of having a child with DS. (C) 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.