A new mutant of Escherichia coli K-12 unable to grow with L-serine, glycine, and L-leucine has been isolated by lambda plac Mu insertion and shown to be deficient in L-serine deaminase activity. The corresponding gene, sdaA, has been cloned from a prototrophic strain, and the clone has been characterized and sequenced. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that sdaA is the structural gene for L-serine deaminase. However, other possibilities are also considered. No significant homology with previously reported DNA or protein sequences was detected.