The genetic basis of primary hypertension is not known. Renin is important in blood pressure and volume control and a HindIII restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) is present within the human renin gene locus. To examine whether there is a relationship between this RFLP and primary hypertension, DNA and renin analyses were performed on leukocytes and plasma from hypertensive and normotensive individuals. In hypertensives the frequencies of alleles for the HindIII RFLP were found to be 0.55 and 0.45, compared with 0.60 and 0.40 in the total population of 231 subjects examined, a difference that was not statistically significant. There also appeared to be no significant difference in renin activity in plasma for hypertensive patients of each genotype, nor in their pre- or post-treatment blood pressures. We thus conclude that, within the limits of the present study, the suspected genetic abnormalities associated with primary hypertension in man do not appear to be related to a HindIII RFLP in the renin gene.