Expressed sequence tag (EST) databases represent a large volume of information on expressed genes including tissue type, expression profile and exon structure. In this study we create an extensive data set of human alternative splicing. We report the analysis of 7867 non-redundant mRNAs, 3011 of which contained alternative splice forms (38% of all mRNAs analysed). From a total of 12572 ESTs 4560 different possible alternative splice forms were detected. Interestingly, 70% of the alternative splice forms correspond to exon deletion events with only 30% exonic insertions. We experimentally verified 19 different splice forms from 16 genes in a total subset of 20 studied; all of the respective genes are of medical relevance.