We cloned a new functional ALDH gene (ALDHx) from a human genomic library in cosmid pWE-15 by screening with a 29-nucleotide probe partially matched to a conserved region of the ALDH1 and ALDH2 genes. The new ALDHx gene does not contain introns in the coding sequence for 517 amino acid residues. The degree of resemblance between the deduced amino acid sequences of the new ALDHx gene and the ALDH2 gene is 72.5% (alignment of 517 amino acid residues), while that between the ALDHx and the ALDH1 gene is 64.6% (alignment of 500 amino acid residues). The amino acid residues (Cys-162, Cys-302, Glu-268, Glu-487, Gly-223, Gly-225, Gly-229, Gly-245 and Gly-250), which exist in both ALDH1 and ALDH2 isozymes and have been implicated in functional and structural importance, are also preserved in the deduced sequence of the new ALDHx gene. Northern blot hybridization with ALDHx probe revealed the existence of a unique mRNA band (3.0 kilobases) in the human liver and testis tissues. Using the new ALDHx probe, we cloned the cDNA of the gene from a human testis cDNA library in lambda gt11 vector. The nucleotide sequence of the cDNA differs from that of the genomic sequence at three nucleotide positions resulting in the exchange of 2 deduced amino acid residues. These positions are polymorphic as further demonstrated by the PCR amplification of the targeted region followed by nucleotide sequence analysis of the genomic DNA from eight unrelated individuals. Alignment of the genomic and cDNA sequence indicates that although the ALDHx gene appears to have no intron in its coding sequence, an intron of 2.6 kilobases is found to interrupt the 5'-untranslated (5'-UT) sequence. Primary extension and S1 mapping analysis indicate the existence of at least two 5'-UT exons. The new ALDHx gene was assigned to chromosome 9 by Southern blot hybridization of DNA samples from a panel of rodent-human hybrid cell lines.