A human retina cDNA library enriched for retina-specific clones was prepared by subtraction with a non-retina population of cDNA in combination with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplifications. A highly retina-specific cDNA clone (1190 bp) was obtained through this library encoding a 200 amino acid protein with three calcium binding sites and 87% homology to the bovine photoreceptor protein, recoverin, which has been shown to mediate the recovery of the dark current after photoactivation, and 58% homology to the calcium-binding chick cone protein, visinin. Analysis of the gene indicated a 9-10 kb single-copy gene with at least three exons and two introns. The three exons contained the entire coding sequence, and all of the calcium-binding EF-hand regions were in putative exon 1. The recoverin gene was mapped to human chromosome 17 by hybridization to a panel of human-rodent hybrid DNAs.