Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) results from decreased activity of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) in the liver. Deficiency in this enzyme results in accumulation of highly carboxylated porphyrins responsible for the disease. PCT usually occurs in adulthood and is characterized by cutaneous photosensitivity, hyperpigmentation, skin fragility and hypertrichosis. Familial PCT (F-PCT) occurs in 20-30% of patients in whom UROD gene mutations in heterozygosity decrease the enzymatic activity to about 50% in all tissues. The rare homozygous form of F-PCT (hepatoerythropoietic porphyria) has more severe clinical features and onset in childhood. In Spain, F-PCT is molecularly heterogeneous and the most frequent UROD mutation is p.G281E. In the present study, we searched for the molecular defect causing F-PCT in a group of Spanish patients and investigated whether the p.G281E mutation in the Spanish population came from a single or various origins. Among seventeen F-PCT patients, sixteen UROD mutations were identified, including eight novel ones: six missense (p.A23V, p.L78P, p.W180G, p.T196I, p.E278G and p.V279M), one frameshift (c.233delT) and one splice site mutation (c.774G>C). Prokaryotic expression studies showed the detrimental effect for each missense mutation, whereas reverse transcription-PCR and sequencing demonstrated that the novel splice site mutation caused exon 7 skipping. Moreover, haplotype analysis performed in Spanish families with the p.G281E mutation indicated that this lesion is associated with at least five haplotype backgrounds. These results extend knowledge on the molecular heterogeneity of F-PCT and suggest multiple origins of the p.G281E mutation.