The Xenopus laevis genome was screened for putative DNA-binding gene products by using the 'finger' region of the Drosophila gene Krüppel as a probe. The one gene detected, named Xfin, codes for a protein with 37 finger domains that comprise nearly 90% of the protein. In the light of studies by Rhodes and Klug (Cell, 46, 123-132, 1986), these data suggest that the Xfin protein has the capacity to bind an unusually large stretch (185 bases) of DNA. The Xfin gene is expressed as a maternal and zygotic mRNA that undergoes extensive polyadenylation changes during early development. The Xfin mRNA expression pattern and the potential DNA binding activity of the protein point to the possibility that the Xfin gene may have a role in controlling gene activity during early embryonic development.