To understand mechanisms involved in sex-specific gene expression in Schistosoma mansoni, a cDNA (fs800) was isolated that hybridized to an 800 nucleotide mRNA present in high levels only in mature female worms. The fs800 cDNA sequence was characterized by two long open reading frames and central stretches of repeated amino acids. Fs800 did not share similarities with other known sequences in computer searches. In situ hybridization, however, revealed that the mRNA corresponding to fs800 was found only in female vitelline cells, suggesting that the product of this gene may be involved in the production or function of eggs. Fs800 is developmentally regulated as expression of this gene is dependent on the maturity of female worms. Furthermore, during in vitro culture, when female worms are known to stop egg production, expression of fs800 selectively ceased.