We have determined the chromosomal localization of four human homeobox-containing genes, EMX1, EMX2, OTX1, and OTX2, related to Drosophila genes expressed in the developing head of the fly. Murine homologs of these genes are expressed in specific nested domains in the developing rostral brain of midgestation embryos. DNAs from a panel of 19 rodent-human hybrids, each carrying one or a few human chromosomes such that most human chromosome regions were represented, were tested for the presence of the four gene loci by filter hybridization to radiolabeled probes. Regional chromosomal localization was determined by similarly testing DNAs from hybrid mapping panels for each of the candidate chromosomes. Finally, fluorescence in situ hybridization of cosmid clones for these loci refined the locations, two of which were in the vicinity of previously mapped orphan homeobox genes and two of which were near each other. OTX2, the earliest and most widely expressed gene, maps to chromosome region 14q21-q22; the OTX1 locus maps to 2p13; EMX2 maps to 10q26.1; and EMX1, the most narrowly and lately expressed, maps to 2p14-p13. Thus, these homeobox-containing genes involved in brain development are not linked to any of the four HOX clusters on 7p15-p14, 17q21-q22, 12q12-q13, and 2q31. However, the OTX1 and EMX1 loci may be closely linked on or near 2p13, prompting speculation that a clustered gene structure could have functional significance, as is presumably the case for the HOX clusters.