Melanocortin 4 receptor gene plays an important role in food intake, energy balance, and weight control. The autosomal dominantly inherited MC4R variants cause obesity by causing hyperphagia and decreased sense of satiety. Homozygous variants are rarely reported, and they cause earlier/severe obesity. Our objective is to determine the MC4R gene variant frequency in children and adolescents with familial early-onset obesity. One hundred thirty-nine children and adolescents (57 girls/82 boys) whose weight increase started before the age of 5 years and who had early-onset obesity in at least one of their first-degree relatives were included in the study. Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) of >= 95th percentile, and as extreme obesity is defined if the BMI >= 120% of the 95th percentile or >= 35 kg/m(2). Children having genetic syndromes associated with obesity and mental retardation or taking drugs that promote changes in eating behavior or weight were excluded from the study. Coding region of the MC4R gene was sequenced by using the Illumina MiSeq Next Generation Sequencing System. The mean age of the patients was 7.3 +/- 3.7 years, and the mean BMI SDS was 3.7 +/- 0.7. While 118 patients (85%) were prepubertal, 21 patients (15%) were pubertal. Seven different variants were identified in 12 patients by giving a variant detection rate of 8.6%, of these five were previously identified missense variants p.N274S, p.S136F, p.V166I, p.R165W, and p.I291SfsX10. One homozygous variant p.I291SfsX10 (c.870delG) was detected in a severely obese 2-year-old boy, and other variants were heterozygous. Two novel variants were found: p.M200del and p.S188L. By using the in silico analysis software, these novel variants were predicted to be disease causing. Conclusion: MC4R gene variants are quite common in childhood obesity in Turkish population. Screening the variants in MC4R gene is necessary in patients with severe childhood-onset obesity. In such patients, comorbidities of obesity can be seen from early years.What is known center dot The frequency of MC4R mutations in obese patients was approximately 0-6.3%.What is new center dot In obese Turkish pediatric population, unlike other European countries, MC4R gene variants are quite common as we found a variant rate of 8.6%center dot We believe it is necessary to screen the variants in MC4R gene in patients with severe childhood-onset obesity and who had early-onset obesity in at least one of their first-degree relatives in Turkish population.