Seal myoglobin (Mb) exons 1 and 3 were used as probes to isolate the functional mouse Mb gene. This gene has a very low level of Mb expression in skeletal muscle. Although it is shorter, the mouse Mb gene displays the common organisation found in human and seal Mb genes. In addition, we have defined blocks of conserved sequences in the 5' flanking region by comparison with other mammalian Mb genes. Moreover, about 10(3) bases upstream of the cap site we identified a repetitive B1 element directly associated with two overlapping open reading frames, containing a putative polyadenylation signal. A polypyrimidine-rich region has also been located upstream from the gene.