The gene encoding the human cellular retinol-binding protein (CRBP) has been isolated from genomic libraries and its structure determined. Only one copy of the gene is present in the human genome. We have located the CRBP gene to segment 3p11–3qter on human chromosome 3 using hybridizations to mouse-human, rat-human and hamster-human cell hybrids. The gene harbors four exons encoding 24, 59, 33, and 16 amino acid residues respectively. The second intervening sequence alone occupies 19 kb of the 21 kb of the CRBP gene. The nucleotide sequence of the gene has been determined with the exception of the second intron. The positions of the introns agree with those in the rat CRBPII, the rat liver fatty-acid-binding protein and the mouse adipose P2 protein genes encoding molecules belonging to the same protein family as CRBP. In contrast to the other sequenced members of this family the promoter of the CRBP gene resembles those found in the ‘housekeeping’ genes in that it is (G + C)-rich, contains multiple copies of the CCGCCC sequence and lacks TATA box. A 9-bp homology containing the core sequence of the simian virus 40 enhancer repeat was found in the 5′ upstream region. A genomic Southern blot probed with CRBP cDNA revealed hybridizing bands in restricted chicken and frog DNA.