In all eukaryotes examined so far, hsp70 gene families include cognate genes (hsc70) encoding proteins of about 70 Kd which are expressed constitutively during normal growth and development. We have investigated the structural relationship of heat-inducible and cognate members of the human hsp70 gene family. Among several human genomic clones isolated using Drosophila hsp/hsc70 probes, one contained an hsc70 gene. Its complete sequence is reported here. It is split by eight introns and encodes a predicted protein of 70899 d that would be 81% homologous to hsp70. Structural comparisons with corresponding genes from other species provide one of the most striking examples of gene conservation. Isolation of a corresponding cDNA clone, RNA-mapping and in vitro translation data demonstrate that the gene is expressed constitutively and directs the synthesis of a 71 kd protein. The latter is very likely to be identical to a clathrin uncoating ATPase recently identified as a member of the hsp70-like protein family.