The gene encoding an extracellular chitinase from marine Alteromonas sp. strain O-7 was cloned in Escherichia coli JM109 by using pUC18. The chitinase produced was not secreted into the growth medium but accumulated in the periplasmic space. A chitinase-positive clone of E. coli produced two chitinases with different molecular weights from a single chitinase gene. These proteins showed almost the same enzymatic properties as the native chitinase of Alteromonas sp. strain O-7. The N-terminal sequences of the two enzymes were identical. The nucleotide sequence of the 3,394-bp SphI-HindIII fragment that included the chitinase gene was determined. A single open reading frame was found to encode a protein consisting of 820 amino acids with a molecular weight of 87,341. A putative ribosome-binding site, promoter, and signal sequence were identified. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cloned chitinase showed sequence homology with chitinases A (33.4%) and B (15.3%) from Serratia marcescens. Regardless of origin, the enzymes of the two bacteria isolated from marine and terrestrial environments had high homology, suggesting that these organisms evolved from a common ancestor.