MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) is an autosomal recessive adenomatous polyposis caused by biallelic germline mutations of the base-excision-repair gene MUTYH. In MAP patients of European origin, the combined allele frequency of the mutations p.Tyr179Cys and p.Gly396Asp ranges between 50 and 82%, while these mutations have not been identified in Far Eastern Asian populations, supporting the hypothesis that a founder effect has occurred at some point in European history. To investigate the natural history of the two common European MUTYH alleles, we genotyped six gene-flanking microsatellite markers in 80 unrelated Italian and German MAP patients segregating one or both mutations and calculated their age in generations (g) by using DMLE+2.2 software. Three distinct common haplotypes, one for p.Tyr179Cys and two for p.Gly396Asp, were identified. Estimated mutation ages were 305 g (95% CS: 271-418) for p.Tyr179Cys and 350 g (95% CS: 313-435) for p.Gly396Asp. These results provide evidence for strong founder effects and suggest that the p.Tyr179Cys and p.Gly396Asp mutations derive from ancestors who lived between 5-8 thousand years and 6-9 thousand years B.C., respectively.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 30 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.309.