Objective: Murine genetic models suggest that function of the 12/15-LOX enzyme promotes atherosclerosis. We tested the hypothesis that exonic and/or promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human 12/15-LOX gene (ALOX15) alter the risk of symptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods and results: We resequenced ALOX15 and then genotyped a common promoter and a less common novel coding SNP (T560M) in 1809 subjects with CAD and 1734 controls from Kaiser Permanente including a subset of participants of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. We found no association between the promoter SNP and the risk of CAD. However, heterozygote carriers of the 560M allele had an increased risk of CAD (adjusted OR, 1.62; P = 0.02) compared to non-carriers. In vitro studies demonstrated a 20-fold reduction in the catalytic activity of 560M when compared to 560T. We then genotyped T560M in 12,974 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study and similarly found that heterozygote carriers had an increased risk of CAD compared to non-carriers (adjusted HR, 1.31; P = 0.06). In both population studies, homozygote carriers were rare and associated with a non-significant decreased risk of CAD compared to non-carriers (adjusted OR, 0.55; P = 0.63 and HR, 0.93; P = 0.9). Conclusions: A coding SNP in ALOX15 (T560M) results in a near null variant of human 12/15-LOX. Assuming a co-dominant mode of inheritance, this variant does not protect against CAD. Assuming a recessive mode of inheritance, the effect of this mutation remains unclear, but is unlikely to provide a protective effect to the degree suggested by mouse knockout studies. © 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.