The mammalian-specific casein gene cluster comprises 3 or 4 evolutionarily related genes and 1 physically linked gene with a functional association. To gain a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating the entire casein cluster at the genomic level we initiated a multispecies comparative sequence analysis. Despite the high level of divergence at the coding level, these studies have identified uncharacterized family members within two species and the presence at orthologous positions of previously uncharacterized genes. Also the previous suggestion that the histatin/statherin gene family, located in this region, was primate specific was ruled out. All 11 genes identified in this region appear to encode secretory proteins. Conservation of a number of noncoding regions was observed; one coincides with an element previously suggested to be important for beta-casein gene expression in human and cow. The conserved regions might have biological importance for the regulation of genes in this genomic "neighborhood."