This study reports the precise intron/exon boundaries and intron/exon composition of the human hexokinase type I gene. A yeast artificial chromosome containing the hexokinase type I gene was isolated from the yeast artificial chromosome library of the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humaine. A cosmid sublibrary was created and direct sequencing of the individual cosmids was used to provide the exon/intron organization. The human hexokinase type I gene was found to be composed of 18 exons ranging in size from 63 to 305 bp. Intron 1 is at least 15 kb in length, whereas intron 2 spans at least 10 kb. Overall, the length of the 17 introns ranges from 104 to greater than 15 kb. The entire coding region is contained in at least 75 kb of the gene. The structure of the gene reveals a remarkable conservation of the size of the exons compared with glucokinase and hexokinase type II. Isolation of the 5' flanking region of the gene revealed a 75-90% identity with the rat sequence. Direct evidence of an alternative red-blood-cell-specific exon 1 located upstream of the 5' flanking region of the gene is also provided.