The Caenorhabditis briggsae homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans neuronal gene unc-119 has been cloned by low-stringency hybridization. Genomic clones containing the C. briggsae gene are able to completely rescue the unc-119 phenotype in transgenic C. elegans mutants. The open reading frame (ORF) of the predicted C. briggsae cDNA is 90% identical to that of C. elegans. Although the splice donor and acceptor sites are conserved, the untranslated regions, and the introns, differ greatly. For this gene, the average intron size in C. elegans is over 600 base pairs (bp); in C. briggsae it is only 113 bp. Their upstream control regions share limited sequence similarities; however, reporter gene fusions of the two species show strongly similar expression in C. elegans. These results are consistent with the maintenance not only of the function of the unc-119 gene but also the transcriptional control of the gene through tens of millions of years of evolution.