A 14 kb region of genomic DNA containing the X-linked Anopheles gambiae eye colour gene, white, was cloned and sequenced. Genomic clones containing distinct white+ alleles were polymorphic for the insertion of a small transposable element in intron 3, and differed at 1% of nucleotide positions compared. Sequence was also determined from a rare 2914 bp cDNA. Comparison of cDNA and genomic sequences established an intron-exon structure distinct from Drosophila white. Despite a common trend in Anopheles and Drosophila of weak codon bias given low levels of gene expression, codon usage by Anopheles gambiae white was strongly biased. Overall amino acid identity between the predicted mosquito and fruitfly proteins was 64%, but dropped to 14% at the amino terminus. To correlate phenotypically white-eyed strains of A. gambiae with structural lesions in white, five available strains were analysed by PCR and Southern blotting. Although these strains carried allelic mutations, independently generated by gamma radiation (three strains) or spontaneous events (two strains), no white lesions were detected. Significantly, another non-allelic X-linked mutation, causing an identical white-eyed phenotype, has been correlated with a structural defect in the cloned white gene (Benedict et al., 1995). Taken together, these observations suggest that the white-eyed mutants analysed in the present study carry mutations in a second eye colour gene and are most likely white+.