The nucleotide sequences of the HA1 domain of the H1 hemagglutinin genes of A/duck/Hong Kong/36/76, A/duck/Hong Kong/196/77, A/sw/North Ireland/38, A/sw/Cambridge/39 and A/Yamagata/120/86 viruses were determined, and their evolutionary relationships were compared with those of previously sequenced hemagglutinin (H1) genes from avian, swine and human influenza viruses. A pairwise comparison of the nucleotide sequences revealed that the genes can be segregated into three groups, the avian, swine and human virus groups. With the exception of two swine strains isolated in the 1930s, a high degree of nucleotide sequence homology exists within the group. Two phylogenetic trees constructed from the substitutions at the synonymous site and the third codon position showed that the H1 hemagglutinin genes can be divided into three host-specific lineages. Examination of 21 hemagglutinin genes from the human and swine viruses revealed that two distinct lineages are present in the swine population. The swine strains, sw/North Ireland/38 and sw/Cambridge/39, are clearly on the human lineage, suggesting that they originate from a human A/WSN/33-like variant. However, the classic swine strain, sw/Iowa/15/30, and the contemporary human viruses are not direct descendants of the 1918 human pandemic strain, but did diverge from a common ancestral virus around 1905. Furthermore, previous to this the above mammalian viruses diverged from the lineage containing the avian viruses at about 1880.