Chromosome 1 reveals in region 1q21 a most remarkable density of genes that fulfill important functions in terminal differentiation of the human epidermis. These genes encode the cornified envelope precursors loricrin, involucrin, and small proline-rich proteins (SPRR1, SPRR2, and SPRR3), the intermediate filament-associated proteins profilaggrin and trichohyalin, and several S100A calcium-binding proteins. Extending and refining our previous physical map of 1q21 we have now mapped two additional S100A genes as well as the three SPRR subfamilies and resolved the arrangement of involucrin, SPRRs, and loricrin. All genes are linked within 1.9 Mbp of human genomic DNA in the order: S100A10, trichohyalin, profilaggrin, involucrin, SPRR3, SPRR1B, SPRR2A, loricrin, S100A9, S100A9, S100A8, S100A6. Colocalization of genes expressed late during maturation of epidermal cells together with genes encoding calcium-binding proteins is particularly intriguing since calcium levels tightly control the differentiation of epithelial cells and the expression of genes encoding epidermal structural proteins. Accounting for the close functional cooperation among these structurally and evolutionary related genes, we conclude that these loci constitute a gene complex, for which we propose the name epidermal differentiation complex.