A cDNA containing the sequence of GH was cloned and sequenced from a pituitary cDNA library for the holostean fish Lepisosteus osseus (common name: gar). The gar GH cDNA contained an open reading frame of 633 nucleotides and a 3′ untranslated region (including the terminal codon TAG) of 1058 nucleotides. The overall length of the gar GH cDNA including leader sequence, signal sequence, hormone sequence and 3′ untranslated region was 1713 nucleotides. Thus, the gar GH cDNA is the largest vertebrate GH cDNA yet cloned. A comparison of GH sequences from ancient (holostean fishes — gar and bowfin; one chondrostean fish — the Russian sturgeon) and more modern (27 species of teleosts) members of class Actinopterygii indicate that members of this class have maintained many of the invariant residues deemed necessary for GH folding motifs (intramolecular relationships) observed in mammals.