The small proteoglycans (PG) of bone consist of two different molecular species: one containing one chondroitin sulfate chain (PG II) and the other, two chains (PG I). These two proteoglycans are found in many connective tissues and have Mr = 45,000 core proteins with clear differences in their NH2-terminal sequences. Using antisera produced against synthetic peptides derived from the human PG I and PG II NH2 termini, we have isolated several cDNA clones from a lambda gt11 expression library made against mRNA isolated from human bone-derived cells. The clones, which reacted with antisera to the PG II peptide, were sequenced and found to be identical with the PG II class of proteoglycan from human fibroblasts known as PG-40 or decorin. The clones reacting to the PG I antisera, however, had a unique sequence. The derived protein sequence of PG I showed sufficient homology with the PG II sequence (55% of the amino acids are identical, with most others involving chemically similar amino acid substitutions) to strongly suggest that the two proteins were the result of a gene duplication. PG II (decorin) contains one attached glycosaminoglycan chain, while PG I probably contains two chains. For this reason, we suggest that PG I be called biglycan. The biglycan protein sequence contains 368 residues (Mr = 42,510 for the complete sequence and Mr = 37,983 for the secreted form) that appears to consist predominantly of a series of 12 tandem repeats of 24 residues. The repeats are recognized by their conserved leucines (and leucine-like amino acids) in positions previously reported for a diverse collection of proteins (none of which is thought to be proteoglycans) including: two morphogenic proteins (toll and chaoptin) in the fruit fly; a yeast adenylate cyclase; and two human proteins, the von Willebrand Factor-binding platelet membrane protein, GPIb, and a rare serum protein, leucine-rich glycoprotein.