Essential hypertension (EH) is a common, multifactorial disorder likely to be influenced by multiple genes of modest effect. The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene C677T mutation is functionally important, being strongly associated with reduced enzyme activity and increased plasma levels of homocysteine. Mild hyperhomocysteinemia is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypothesised also to be involved in hypertension pathophysiology. The present study was performed to determine the prevalence of the 677T mutation in Australian Caucasian patients diagnosed with EH and to test whether the C677T variant is associated with the disorder. A case-control cohort, consisting of 250 EH patients and 250 age, sex and racially matched normotensive controls, were used for the association study. Comparison of C677T allele frequencies revealed a higher proportion of the mutant allele (T) in the EH group (40%) compared to unaffected controls (34%) (p=0.07). Furthermore, genotypic results indicated that the prevalence of the homozygous mutant genotype (T/T) in the affected group was higher than that of controls (14%:10%) (p=0.17). Interestingly, conditional logistic regression showed that the MTHFR C677T mutation conferred a mild, yet significant increase in risk of essential hypertension after adjusting for body mass index (odds ratio=1.57, 95% confidence interval: 1.04-2.37, p=0.03). These findings require further investigation in large independent samples, but suggest that essential hypertension, like CVD, may be mildly influenced by the MTHFR C677T variant.