E,E,E-Geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) is an important precursor of carotenoids and geranylgeranylated proteins such as small G proteins. In this study, we have identified mouse and human GGPP synthase genes. Sequence analysis showed that mouse and human GGPP synthases share a high level of amino acid identity (94%) with each other, and share a high level of similarity (45-50%) with GGPP synthases of lower eukaryotes, but only weak similarity (22-31%) to plant and prokaryotic GGPP synthases. Both of the newly identified GGPP synthase genes from mouse and human were expressed in Escherichia coli, and their gene products displayed GGPP synthase activity when isopentenyl diphosphate and farnesyl diphosphate were used as substrates. The GGPP synthase activity of these genes was also confirmed by demonstrating carotenoid synthesis after co-transformation of E. coli with a plasmid expressing the crt genes derived from Erwinia uredovora, and a plasmid expressing either the mouse or human GGPS1 gene. Southern blot analysis suggests that the human GGPS1 gene is a single copy gene.