A 7.7-kb EcoRI genomic DNA fragment highly homologous to the human alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) gene has been cloned. This antitrypsin-related sequence is physically linked to the authentic AAT gene and both are present in a single cosmid clone. Nucleotide sequencing of the AAT-related genomic fragment demonstrated extensive homology with the authentic AAT gene in the introns as well as in the exons. The conservation of all RNA splice sites and lack of internal termination codons in the exonic regions suggest that it may not be a classical pseudogene. If expressed, it could result in a protein of 420 amino acid residues exhibiting a 70% overall homology with human alpha 1-antitrypsin. The signal peptide sequence is well conserved in the related gene, but the active site for protease inhibition of Met-Ser in alpha 1-antitrypsin has been changed to Trp-Ser. These data suggest that the putative protein encoded by the AAT-related gene is a secretory serine protease inhibitor with an altered substrate specificity. Interestingly, even the intronic regions in the related gene exhibit a 65% overall nucleotide sequence homology with those of the authentic AAT gene. These results suggest that the AAT-related gene is derived from a recent duplication of the authentic AAT gene and represents a new member of the serine protease inhibitor superfamily.