Low levels of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) are associated with an elevated risk of arteriosclerotic coronary heart disease. Heritability of HDL-C levels is high. In this research discovery study, we used whole-exome sequencing to identify damaging gene variants that may play significant roles in determining HDL-C levels. We studied 204 individuals with a mean HDL-C level of 27.8 ± 6.4 mg/dl (range: 4–36 mg/dl). Data were analyzed by statistical gene burden testing and by filtering against candidate gene lists.