Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease characterized by infiltration of inflammatory cells into the epidermis and altered keratinocyte differentiation. Psoriasis is currently thought of as a T-cell mediated 'Type-1' autoimmune disease. Gene expression changes in psoriasis lesions have been well documented, and strongly support an important role for tumor necrosis factor and interferon gamma signal pathways in its pathogenesis. The strongest genetic determinant of psoriasis identified to date lies within the class I region of the multiple histocompatibility locus antigen cluster, although its low penetrance implicates a requirement for other genetic risk factors. Multiple genome-wide linkage and an increasing number of association studies have been carried out, leading to multiple linkage peaks, and the identification of potential low risk variants. A number of these variants lie within genes encoding components of the immune system. However, the functional relationships between predisposing genetic variation is unclear, and presumably involves genetic susceptibility factors affecting both immune cell activation and keratinocyte differentiation. The interaction of environmental trigger factors with genetic effects is also not understood, but provide further evidence for the complex basis of this disease.