Population samples from Angola, Mozambique, and S. Tomé e Príncipe were screened for the TPI gene promoter variants -5A[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]G, -8G[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]A and -24T[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]G. Three haplotypes were identified in the three populations: the haplotype -5A-8G-24T (average frequency 65.3%) and two less common haplotypes -5G-8G-24T (average frequency 24.7%) and -5G-8A-24T (average frequency 10.0%). A population sample from Central Portugal showed the haplotype -5A-8G-24T in 139 chromosomes and one subject heterozygous for haplotype -5G-8A-24G. The exact test of sample differentiation among three groups of malaria-infected individuals classified according to the severity of the disease showed no significant differences. We confirmed TPI gene diversity in sub-Saharan Africa, but we could not detect any association between TPI promoter variation and a malarial protective effect. Larger scale epidemiological studies are thus required to clarify this putative mechanism of natural host defense against this worldwide public health problem. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.