Using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone, we have mapped the human cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) locus containing the genes encoding for CYP3A4, CYP3A5 and CYP3A7. The genes lie in a head-to-tail orientation in the order of 3A4, 3A7 and 3A5. In both intergenic regions (3A4-3A7 and 3A7-3A5), we have detected several additional cytochrome P450 3A exons, forming two CYP3A pseudogenes. These pseudogenes have the same orientation as the CYP3A genes. To our surprise, a 3A7 mRNA species has been detected in which the exons 2 and 13 of one of the pseudogenes (the one that is downstream of 3A7) are spliced after the 3A7 terminal exon. This results in an mRNA molecule that consists of the 13 3A7 exons and two additional exons at the 3' end. The additional two exons originating from the pseudogene are in an altered reading frame and consequently have the capability to code a completely different amino acid sequence than the canonical CYP3A exons 2 and 13. These findings may represent a generalized evolutionary process with genes having the potential to capture neighboring sequences and use them as functional exons.