We analyzed two novel clusters of keratin-associated protein (KAP) genes on human chromosome 11 (11p15.5 and 11q13.5) in which we identified two known human KRTAP5 genes, KerA (=KRN1) and KerB, and nine novel KRTAP5 family genes. RT-PCR analysis of these KAP genes showed preferential expression in human hair root, suggesting these gene products are required for hair formation. Based on the deduced amino acid sequences, all these KAP proteins were classified into an ultrahigh-sulfur (UHS) type KAP with high cysteine content (> 30 mol%). These KAPs also showed high glycine and serine contents (average 24.30 and 21.13 mol%, respectively), distinguishing from other UHS/HS KAP families located on human chromosomes 17 and 21. Dot-matrix analysis revealed a significant similarity between these two KAP gene clusters. We postulated a mechanism by which these two KAP gene clusters are generated via genomic duplication of a primordial gene cluster followed by genetic modification during evolution.