The glutathione-S-transferases are a group of enzymes that play a major role in detoxification and defence against toxic, carcinogenic and other compounds. We analysed the proximal promoters of 14 genes encoding glutathione-S-transferase for polymorphism. Ten of the promoters contained sequence variants, nine of which we were able to clone into a reporter gene vector, pGL3. The relative ability of each haplotype to promote transcription of the luciferase gene was tested in each of two human cell lines (HEK293t and TE671) using a cotransfected CMV-SEAP plasmid as a control. Four genes (GSTA1, GSTA2, GSTM4 and GSTT2) showed activity differences greater than 1.5-fold between haplotypes, and a fifth gene (MGST1) showed a 1.4-fold difference. The promoter sequence variants in these genes may therefore play a role in human variation, susceptibility to diseases and the effects of drugs.