Aims: To study the frequency of mutations in the Pax8 gene in a cohort of patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) in South West Germany. Methods: A cohort of 95 patients with CH (60 females, 35 males), identified in our newborn screening program, was analyzed for mutations in Pax8 by single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) and DNA sequencing. Results: SSCP analysis and direct sequencing of exon 3 of a female patient with a hypoplastic thyroid gland revealed two heterozygous mutations in Pax8 resulting in a transition of T to C (codon 34) and G to A (codon 35), replacing isoleucine by threonine and valine by isoleucine. Using allele-specific PCR we could demonstrate that both mutations are located on the same allele. Furthermore, a polymorphism was documented in 24 patients with thyroid hypoplasia in intron 6 at nucleotide +51 (CC, GG, CG). Comparison of the polymorphisms between hypothyroid patients and controls revealed no significant differences suggesting that this polymorphism does not play a role in the pathogenesis of hypothyroidism. No further mutations or polymorphisms were found in the cohort. Conclusions: These findings confirm the contribution of mutations in the Pax8 gene to the etiology of thyroid dysgenesis with a variable penetrance, but also demonstrate the rare overall incidence in CH.