As an approach to characterizing all human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily genes, a search of the human expressed sequence tag (EST) database was performed using sequences from known ABC genes. A total of 105 clones, containing sequences of potential ABC genes, were identified, representing 21 distinct genes. This brings the total number of characterized human ABC genes from 12 to 33. The new ABC genes were mapped by PCR on somatic cell and radiation hybrid panels and yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs). The genes are located on human chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 and X; at locations distinct from previously mapped members of the superfamily. The characterized genes display extensive diversity in sequence and expression pattern and this information was utilized to determine potential structural, functional and evolutionary relationships to previously characterized members of the ABC superfamily.