The P5-1 cDNA clone maps to the human MHC class I region (Vernet et al. 1993a). In this paper, we show that the P5-1 cDNA represents a chimeric transcript in which the first exon of an MHC class I gene has been spliced to an unrelated sequence. The corresponding gene P5-1 is composed of the 5' sequence of an MHC class I gene including the promoter region, the first exon, and the half of the first intron fused to an unrelated intron, followed by a large exon. Furthermore, the non-class I part of P5-1 is present within the MHC class I region in multiple copies, defining the P5 family. Another member of the P5 family is fused to a class I gene, although by a type of rearrangement different from P5-1. These two fusion events between members of HLA class I and P5 families reflect the existence of a duplication unit including two class I genes and a P5 sequence. These data shed light on the MHC class I evolution and on the creation and evolution of new genes.