The biosynthetic gene cluster of the 2-deoxystreptamine (DOS)-containing aminoglycoside antibiotic neomycin has been cloned for the first time by screening of a cosmid library of Streptomyces fradiae NCIMB 8233. Sequence analysis has identified 21 putative open reading frames (ORFs) in the neomycin gene cluster (neo) with significant protein sequence similarity to gene products involved in the biosynthesis of other DOS-containing aminoglycosides, namely butirosin (btr), gentamycin (gnt), tobramycin (tbm) and kanamycin (kan). Located at the 5'-end of the neo gene cluster is the previously-characterised neomycin phosphotransferase gene (apH). Three genes unique to the neo and btr clusters have been revealed by comparison of the neo cluster to btr, gnt, tbm and kan clusters. This suggests that these three genes may be involved in the transfer of a ribose moiety to the DOS ring during the antibiotic biosynthesis. The product of the neo-6 gene is characterised here as the L-glutamine : 2-deoxy-scyllo-inosose aminotransferase responsible for the first transamination in DOS biosynthesis, which supports the assignment of the gene cluster.