Seventy-two patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 82 controls have been typed with the XI Histocompatibility Workshop DRB1 and DQB1 sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes. The increase of DRB1*04 corresponds to an increase of the serologically defined DR4, previously found in a small group of Zimbabwean RA patients and we now show that this increase is due to the subtype DRB1*0405 in association with DQB1*0302. In addition there is a clearcut increase of DRB1*1001 equivalent to the serologically defined DR10. There was no increase amongst RA patients of DRB1*0102 which was the predominant DR1 sub-type amongst controls. In the course of our investigation, we observed a DRB1*04 variant which corresponds to DRB1*0412, newly defined in the XIth Histocompatibility Workshop.