We have constructed the physical map of the 3' region of the human immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (VH) genes. DNA segments extending to 200 kb upstream of the JH segment were isolated in two YAC clones. Five VH segments were identified in this region in the 5' to 3' order, V(II-5), V(IV-4), V(I-3), V(I-2), and V(VI-1) segments which were all structurally normal and orientated in the same direction as the JH segments. From DNA of a different cell line we have isolated a cosmid contig containing the same DNA region which has extraordinary polymorphism. The YAC and cosmid DNAs were called haplotypes A and B, respectively. Haplotype B contained an additional VH-I segment (V(I-4.1b)) between the V(II-5) and V(IV-4) segments. V(I-4.1b) segment is almost identical to a previously published VH sequence encoding a rheumatoid factor. Another VH segment in the B haplotype (V(I-3b)) corresponding to the V(I-3) segment also showed 99.7% nucleotide sequence homology with an anti-DNA autoantibody VH sequence. However, none of the VH sequences in haplotype A showed such strong homology with autoantibody VH sequences. The results suggest that VH haplotypes may have linkage with autoantibody production.