Within the human leukocyte antigen-DQA1 workshop project the level of molecular heterogeneity of the DQA1 gene was investigated. An improved sequence-based typing protocol was used, enabling analysis of the complete coding sequence, comprising exons 1–4. The participating laboratories implemented the amplification and sequencing primers in their own sequence-based typing approach. The method proved to be sufficiently robust to handle the differences in protocols. All reference samples used for validation were correctly typed for DQA1 by all participating laboratories. Three different populations with a total of 736 individuals were investigated: a population of Korean origin (n= 467), a British Caucasian (n= 114), and a Dutch Caucasian (n= 155) population. Sixteen of the known 28 DQA1 alleles were detected and six new alleles were identified. All novel alleles showed a nucleotide substitution outside exon 2. Comparison of the calculated allele frequencies revealed major differences between the Korean and the Caucasian populations but also between Dutch and British Caucasians. A tight association between DQA1 and DRB1/DQB1 alleles was observed in all three populations.