We previously reported that domestic rabbits harbor at least two DNA sequences that hybridize strongly to immunoglobulin kappa C region probes in Southern blots. One of these was cloned from a domestic b4 rabbit and identified as the gene for the nominal b4 allotype kappa chain which is expressed at high levels. We now have cloned (from a b4 rabbit) the other homologous sequence and find that it encodes a kappa chain nearly identical to the kappa 2 chain of "bas" rabbits, which is not normally expressed at detectable levels in domestic rabbits. Sequence analysis of this kappa 2 chain reveals a J kappa -C kappa locus with no obvious coding sequence defects that could explain its low expression. However, several base changes in a putative enhancer region as well as deletions (totalling about 1.5 kb) in the J-C intron might be related to low expression. The comparison between these two kappa genes raises questions about the selective pressures operating during the evolution of this gene system.