Two closely related cDNA clones, pSpec1 and pSpec2, specifying two developmentally regulated tissue specific mRNAs from sea urchin embryos were used to probe a sea urchin genomic lambda library. Screening 10,000 phage by plaque hybridization yielded several hundred positive signals. With more stringent wash procedures, only two to three phage were positive. Three of these phage, one isolated by stringent wash procedures and two isolated by standard wash procedures were further investigated by restriction analysis, RNA gel blots, and DNA sequencing. The phage isolated by the stringent wash procedure appears to be a gene coding for the Specl mRNA. The other phage contain only partial homology to pSpec1 and pSpec2, 150 to 200 base pairs of the 3' untranslated region of the Spec1 and Spec2 mRNAs. It is concluded that the Spec1 and Spec2 mRNAs contain a highly repetitive element near their 3' end. The element is present at 2000 to 3000 copies per genome and may be transcribed at some sites other than those coding for the Spec1 and Spec2 genes. The possible function and evolutionary origin of the repetitive element is discussed.