H3.3 is a replacement histone subtype that is encoded by two replication-independent genes termed H3.3A and H3.3B, respectively. We have isolated a fullsize H3.3 cDNA clone from an oligo(dT)-primed human testicular cDNA library. Subsequently, the corresponding gene was isolated from a human cosmid library and was identified as the H3.3B gene. It was the only histone gene on this 42-kb cosmid clone. The gene structure shows characteristic features of an H3.3 gene. First, it contains an intron of about 0.5 kb in the 5' untranslated region and two smaller introns within the coding gene portion. Second, no histone gene-specific dyad symmetry element was found in the 3' untranslated region, but three putative polyadenylation signals were detected downstream of the gene. The corresponding transcripts were detected by Northern blot analysis using poly(A)+ RNA from testis and from the HEK293 tumor cell line. The newly discovered human H3.3B gene (HGMW-approved symbol H3F3B) was mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization to the telomeric region of chromosome 17 (17q25). This localization of the H3.3B gene and its solitary arrangement contrast with the majority of the replication-dependent histone genes, which form a large cluster on chromosome 6 and a second cluster on chromosome 1.