A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for amplifying a fragment of the gene (GH) encoding teleost growth hormone has been developed. Using this technique, a fragment of the pufferfish, Fugu rubripes and Arothron maculatus, dwarf gourami, Colisa lalia; guppy, Poecilia reticulata; and goldfish, Carassius auratus GH genes were cloned. The Fugu rubripes (Fugu) gene fragment was used to isolate the GH gene from a Fugu genomic library. The complete nucleotide sequence of a 8.5-kb SacI genomic fragment containing the Fugu GH gene has been determined. The GH gene spans 2.5 kb from the first codon to polyadenylation signal, and contains six exons and five introns similar to the GH genes of salmonids, tilapia, barramundi, flounder and yellowtail. The GH introns contain microsatellite and satellite sequences. The microsatellites found in the fifth intron of the GH gene are also present in the corresponding introns of tilapia, barramundi and flounder GH genes. Southern analysis revealed that the GH gene is a single-copy gene in the Fugu. The promoter region of the Fugu GH gene contains conserved sequences that are likely to be involved in the pituitary-specific expression of the gene. A phylogenetic tree of nucleotide (nt) sequences of all known teleost GH genes has been inferred using the distance matrix method. The topology of this tree reflects the major phylogenetic groupings of teleosts. The intron patterns and repetitive sequences of GH genes can serve as useful natural markers for the classification and phylogenetic studies of teleosts.