The zebrafish genome was found to contain two sequences which cross-hybridize strongly with the engrailed gene of Drosophila. Several independent clones containing one of these cross-hybridizing sequences were isolated from a zebrafish genomic library. Characterization of this region (ZF-EN) by DNA sequencing showed that it shares about 70% sequence identity with the engrailed homeobox. More extensive homeobox homology (greater than 90%) was found relative to the murine En genes. The closest relationship exists between ZF-EN and En-2 where the C-terminal domains (104 amino acids) encoded by these genes are almost identical. We also observed that ZF-EN and En-2 are very similar with respect to their transcript sizes and temporal expression patterns.