The cDNA of human DNA polymerase delta was cloned. The cDNA had a length of 3.5 kb and encoded a protein of 1107 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 124 kDa. Northern blot analysis showed that the cDNA hybridized to a mRNA of 3.4 kb. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to the C-terminal 20 residues specifically immunoblotted the human pol delta catalytic polypeptide. A multiple sequence alignment was constructed. This showed that human pol delta is closely related to yeast pol delta and the herpes virus DNA polymerases. The levels of pol delta message were found to be induced concomitantly with DNA pol delta activity and DNA synthesis in serum restimulated proliferating IMR90 cultured cells. The human pol delta gene was localized to chromosome 19 by Southern blotting of EcoRI digested DNA from a panel of rodent/human cell hybrids.