Approximately 70% of the gene responsible for the most common form of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ( PKD1 ) is replicated in several highly homologous copies located more proximally on chromosome 16. We recently have described a novel technique for mutation detection in the duplicated region of PKD1 that circumvents the difficulties posed by these homologs. We have used this method to identify two patients with a nearly identical cluster of base pair substitutions in exon 23. Since pseudogenes are known to be reservoirs for mutation via gene conversion events for a number of other diseases, we decided to test whether these sequence differences in PKD1 could have arisen as a result of this mechanism. Using changes in restriction digest patterns, we were able to show that these sequence substitutions are also present in N23HA, a rodent-human somatic cell hybrid that contains only the PKD1 homologs. Moreover, these changes were also detected in total DNA from several affected and unaffected individuals that did not harbor this mutation in their PKD1 gene copy. This is the first example of gene conversion in PKD1 , and our findings highlight the importance of using gene-specific reagents in defining PKD1 mutations.