This study analyzed the association of the I14A mutation, the D442G mutation, and the TaqIB polymorphism of the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene in 718 Chinese individuals with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (HDL-C) living in Taiwan. The analysis revealed that the I14A mutation was not present in any of the 110 subjects with HDL-C levels above 60 mg/dl. By contrast, the D442G mutation was present in 48 of the 718 (6.7%) subjects tested. Significantly higher HDL-C levels were noted for bearers of the D442G mutation compared with non-bearers; however, this association was weaker for males and for subjects carrying the TaqIB1 allele. The TaqIB2 allele was also associated with higher HDL-C levels. From multivariate analysis, independent associations were demonstrated for the TaqIB2 polymorphism and the D442G mutation, and elevated HDL-C levels. For obese subjects, however, the presence of the TaqIB2 or D442G allele was not associated with increased HDL-C levels. For subjects with triglycerides at a concentration greater than 150 mg/dl, the association of both alleles with HDL-C levels was also diminished. Thus, genetic variation at the CETP gene locus may account for a significant proportion of the difference in HDL-C levels; however, it seems reasonable to suggest that the effects of the allele interact with genetic variations expressed within the sample population, and with sex, obesity, and plasma triglyceride levels.