Porcine prolactin cDNA clones were screened using antiserum against ovine prolactin from a cDNA library of porcine anterior pituitary, and their nucleotide sequences were determined by the chain-termination method. The nucleotide sequence of the 5′ untranslated region and part of the signal peptide region were determined by direct RNA sequencing with reverse transcriptase. The composite sequence of 957 nucleotides showed a signal sequence of 30 amino acids and a further 199 amino acids corresponding to the mature prolactin molecule. The predicted sequence confirmed the amino acid sequence determined previously by direct protein analysis, except for one amide form at residue 122 (Gln instead of the reported Glu). Northern blot analysis showed that the length of the porcine prolactin mRNA was about 1·1 kb. The porcine prolactin amino acid sequence showed 81, 80, 64, 62, 80 and 31% homology with human, bovine, rat, mouse, chick and salmon forms respectively. The identical amino acid residues showed marked clustering in four domains, two of which are highly conserved throughout a wide range of species. The hydropathy and secondary structure of porcine prolactin were analysed and compared with those of porcine GH, which shares the same ancestral gene. The two highly conserved regions of both hormones showed similar hydrophilicity, and the predicted secondary structures indicated that these regions in each hormone form different structures with differences in extension of the hydrophilic residues outside the molecule.