The human regulators of complement activation gene cluster (RCA cluster) have been partially characterized with yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs). While the data confirm many points previously elucidated, the finer resolution of YAC mapping has allowed the discovery and/or localization of partial gene duplications, the determination of gene orientations, and the measurement of gaps between known genes. Here nine overlapping YACs that encompass a genomic region of 800 kb, encoding four RCA genes and three gene-like elements, are described. The encoded genes and two of the gene-like elements share the same orientation and are ordered (5' to 3') DAF, CR2, CR1, MCP-like, CR1-like, and MCP. A C4bp-like region lies upstream from DAF and is likely to correspond to one recently observed by F. Pardo-Manuel, J. Rey-Campos, A. Hillarp, B. Dahlback, and S. Rodriguez de Cordoba (1990, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87: 4529-4533). MCP-like, a new genetic element, was discovered and found to be homologous to the 5' portion of the MCP gene. Two large gaps of 85 kb (between CR2 and DAF) and 110 kb (between DAF and the C4bp-like element) could carry additional RCA genes. The arrangement of CR1, MCP-like, CR1-like, and MCP, in that order, strongly suggests that this region was generated by a single duplication of neighboring CR1/CR1-like and MCP/MCP-like forerunners. The RCA YACs will now serve as convenient DNA sources for the subcloning and further characterization of this region.