We have isolated and characterized two kinds of cDNA for the chicken cardiac myosin alkali light chain. The sequences of the two cDNAs are identical, except for a notable divergence in part of the 3' untranslated sequence. By analysis of isolated genomic clones, it was shown that the genomic sequences corresponding to the different sequences in the 3' untranslated regions of the two mRNAs were arranged within a limited part of a single stretch of DNA; also the two distinct 3' untranslated regions of the two mRNAs shared part of the last exon, which was 0.6 x 10(3) base-pairs long. There are two canonical acceptor sites available for RNA splicing in the last exon, the first being located at the 5' end of the exon, and the second at 370 base-pairs downstream from this end. Together with analysis by S1 nuclease mapping, the foregoing results lead us to conclude that, by the differential use of these two acceptor sites, a single gene generates two distinct mRNAs of 1.45 x 10(3) base-pairs and 1.1 x 10(3) base-pairs with or without the 5' half of the last exon. The two mRNAs appear to utilize the same modified poly(A) signal, AGTAAA, rather than the authentic AATAAA sequence present about 30 base-pairs downstream from the poly(A) attachment sites. This is probably because another consensus G + T-rich sequence is present at an appropriate distance from the AGTAAA sequence, but not from the AATAAA sequence. The gene for the cardiac myosin alkali light chain has proved to be expressed in ventricular muscle and in atrial and anterior latissimus dorsi muscles, the last of these being characteristic of slow skeletal muscle. In these muscles, two kinds of mRNA for the cardiac myosin alkali light chain, identical with those in ventricular muscle, were expressed and their relative amount in each tissue was almost the same as that in ventricular muscle.