Mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans dpy-13 (dumpy) gene result in a short, chunky body shape. This gene was tagged by insertion of the Tc1 transposon, and the wild-type gene was cloned by chromosomal walking 11 kb from ama-1, a cloned gene encoding the large subunit of RNA polymerase II. Three transposon insertion sites in dpy-13 are located near the 5' end of a 1.2 kb transcribed region. The EMS-induced reference allele, dpy-13(e184), carries a small deletion near the middle of this gene. The DNA sequence reveals that dpy-13 is a member of the collagen multi-gene family, and it could encode a polypeptide of 302 amino acids. A 146 base pair sequence, encoding amino acids 56-103, is unique in the C. elegans genome, and it hybridizes to a 1 kb mRNA of moderate abundance.