We have isolated cDNA clones for the gene, termed GPX1, encoding the major human selenoprotein, glutathione peroxidase. Sequence analysis confirmed previous findings that the unusual amino acid seleno-cysteine is encoded by the opal terminator codon UGA. Southern blot analysis of human genomic DNA with the GPX1 cDNA showed that restriction endonucleases without sites in the probe sequence produced three hybridizing bands at standard stringency, diminishing to one strongly and one weakly hybridizing band at high stringency. In situ hybridization localized the human GPX1 gene to a single site on chromosome 3, at region 3q11-13.1. Thus, three genomic sites bear sequence homology to the GPX1 cDNA, and the one most homologous maps to 3q11-13.1.