The human excision repair gene ERCC-1 was cloned after DNA mediated gene transfer to the CHO mutant 43-3B, which is sensitive to ultraviolet light and mitomycin-C. We describe the cloning and sequence analysis of the ERCC-1 cDNA and partial characterization of the gene. ERCC-1 has a size of 15 kb and is located on human chromosome 19. The ERCC-1 precursor RNA is subject to alternative splicing of an internal 72 bp coding exon. Only the cDNA of the larger 1.1 kb transcript, encoding a protein of 297 amino acids, was able to confer resistance to ultraviolet light and mitomycin-C on 43-3B cells. Significant amino acid sequence homology was found between the ERCC-1 gene product and the yeast excision repair protein RAD10. The most homologous region displayed structural homology with DNA binding domains of various polypeptides.