We have described a 56 kDa protein from genital skin fibroblasts that specifically binds androgen and that is generally not expressed in genital skin fibroblasts from patients with androgen insensitivity due to genetic defects of the androgen receptor. We have isolated a partial cDNA clone for the 56 kDa protein from an expression library of genital skin fibroblasts. In vitro translation of message selected with this clone faithfully produces the 56 kDa protein which can be immuneprecipitated with an anti-56 kDa antiserum. Northern blots probed with this clone show a 2.2 kb message, which parallels the expression of the 56 kDa protein. The sequence of this 998bp clone is identical to human liver aldehyde dehydrogenase 1, the cytoplasmic isoenzyme. On activity gels of genital skin fibroblast cytosol covalently labelled with androgen, aldehyde dehydrogenase activity comigrates with the single band labelled specifically with androgen. Thus, the 56 kDa androgen binding protein is an aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is prominently expressed in normal genital skin fibroblasts, but not in non-genital skin fibroblasts.