To study the molecular function of genes expressed during preimplantation development, we isolated a novel maternal transcript SSEC (Stage Specific Embryonic cDNA)-26 from a partial subtraction library of mouse unfertilized eggs and preimplantation embryos. The SSEC-26 transcript is abundant in the unfertilized egg and also actively transcribed from the newly formed zygotic genome. On the basis of its expression in eggs and embryos, this new mouse gene is named Mem (maternal-embryonic) 3. The genomic locus of Mem3 has been mapped to Chromosome (Chr) 8 near the D8Mit78 marker and the glutaryl CoA dehydrogenase (Gcdh) locus. The deduced amino acid sequence of MEM3 resembles that of the yeast VPS (Vacuolar Protein Sorting) 35 in two separate domains. A cDNA sequence of the potential human homolog of Mem3 has been assembled with partial clones from the EST database and assigned to human Chr 16.