The equine alpha globin gene complex comprises two functional alpha genes and an alpha-like pseudogene arranged in the order 5'-alpha 2-(5kb)-alpha 1-(3kb)-psi alpha-3'. A single (embryonic) zeta-like sequence lies within a 12 kb region 5' to the alpha 2 gene. We have determined the sequence of the alpha 1 gene of the BII haplotype, one of two most common haplotypes (the other being BI) which encode alpha globins with either Tyr (BI) or Phe (BII) at codon 24 in both linked alpha genes. In BI and BII the non-allelic alpha 2 and alpha 1 genes respectively code for Gln or Lys at codon 60, thus accounting for the 4 alpha globin types seen in BI/BII heterozygotes. Genomic restriction enzyme maps of the BII alpha complex (24Phe/60Lys,Gln) and the allelic BI (24Tyr/60Lys,Gln) are identical to each other, and to those of a rarer normal haplotype, A, which encodes only alpha 24Tyr/60Gln globin, and a low expression mutant of BII which encodes only 24Phe/60Lys globin. These two latter haplotypes must therefore have a linked pair of alpha genes, as in BI and BII, but with identical coding properties, and it is suggested that this has arisen by gene conversion.