A cDNA clone corresponding to the mature form of ornithine transcarbamylase (OTCase) was selected from a rat liver cDNA library constructed in bacteriophage lambda gt10. OTCase clones were selected using a synthetic DNA probe of 15 bases corresponding to the 3' end of the OTCase mRNA [Horwich, A. L., Kraus, J.P., Williams, K., Kalousek, F., Königsberg, W. & Rosenberg, L.E. (1983) Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 80, 4258-4262]. Putative OTCase clones were subcloned into the expression vector, pUC9, and the identity of inserts confirmed by colony immunoassay and by electrophoretic transfer of cloned proteins from sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide gels to nitrocellulose filters followed by probing with monospecific anti-OTCase antibodies and 125I-labelled protein A. A clone corresponding to the full-length mature form of rat liver OTCase (plus 15 amino acids from Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase) was obtained and the identity of the clone was confirmed by comparison of the 5' sequence with a limited N-terminal amino acid sequence [Lusty, C., Jilka, R. L. & Nietsch, E. H. (1979) J. Biol. Chem. 254, 10030-10036]. A sequence discrepancy between the published sequence (Lusty et al.) and the sequence predicted from the cDNA structure is noted.