MICA (MHC class I chain-related gene A) is localized 47 kb upstream from HLA-B on the short arm of chromosome 6. It has been postulated that MICA protein folds similarly to the class I chain and may have the capacity to bind short ligands. Short tandem repeats (STR) within the transmembrane (TM) region of this gene have been described and five alleles consisting of 4 to 9 GCT codons, each encoding an alanine residue have been defined. We have applied DNA heteroduplex analysis to type MICA trinucleotide repeats in order to develop a simple and reliable method for their identification. This approach allowed the characterization of all MICA alleles. Moreover, a new polymorphism within the TM region was identified.