The gonads and adrenal glands produce steroids classified into five major groups which include the oestrogens, progestins, androgens, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Gonadal steroids control the differentiation and growth of the reproductive system, induce and maintain sexual characteristics and modulate reproductive behaviour. Adrenal steroids also influence differentiation as well as being metabolic regulators. The effects of each steroid depend primarily on its specific receptors, the nature of which could therefore provide a basis for classification of steroid hormone action. The successful cloning, sequencing and expression of the human glucocorticoid (hGR) (ref. 1), oestrogen (hER), progesterone (hPR), and mineralocorticoid (hMR) receptors, complementary DNA, plus homologues from various species, provides the first opportunity to study receptor structure and its influence on gene expression. Sequence comparison and mutational analysis show structural features common to all groups of steroid hormone receptors. The receptors share a highly conserved cysteine-rich region which functions as the DNA-binding domain. This common segment allows the genome to be scanned for related gene products: hMR cDNA for example, was isolated using an hGR hybridization probe. In this study, using the DNA-binding domain of the human oestrogen receptor cDNA as a hybridization probe, we have isolated two cDNA clones encoding polypeptides with structural features suggestive of cryptic steroid hormone receptors which could participate in a new hormone response system.