With the complete human genomic sequence being unraveled, the focus will shift to gene identification and to the functional analysis of gene products. The generation of a set of cDNAs, both sequences and physical clones, which contains the complete and noninterrupted protein coding regions of all human genes will provide the indispensable tools for the systematic and comprehensive analysis of protein function to eventually understand the molecular basis of man. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of 500 novel human cDNAs containing the complete protein coding frame. Assignment to functional categories was possible for 52% (259) of the encoded proteins, the remaining fraction having no similarities with known proteins. By aligning the cDNA sequences with the sequences of the finished chromosomes 21 and 22 we identified a number of genes that either had been completely missed in the analysis of the genomic sequences or had been wrongly predicted. Three of these genes appear to be present in several copies. We conclude that full-length cDNA sequencing continues to be crucial also for the accurate identification of genes. The set of 500 novel cDNAs, and another 1000 full-coding cDNAs of known transcripts we have identified, adds up to cDNA representations covering 2%--5 % of all human genes. We thus substantially contribute to the generation of a gene catalog, consisting of both full-coding cDNA sequences and clones, which should be made freely available and will become an invaluable tool for detailed functional studies.