Rabbits exhibit phenotypic differences, 21H and 21L, in the rate of hepatic progesterone 21-hydroxylation that reflect 10-fold higher microsomal concentrations of cytochrome P-450 1 in 21H rabbits. A cDNA library in pBR322 was prepared from liver mRNA isolated from a 21H rabbit. A clone, p1-8, producing a hybrid protein resulting from the insertion of the cDNA into the beta-lactamase gene of the plasmid expressed 5 distinct epitopes that were recognized by a panel of monoclonal antibodies developed toward P-450 1. RNAs selected from total hepatic mRNA by filter hybridization with p1-8 yield at least two electrophoretically distinct proteins when translated in vitro and immunoprecipitated with the 3C3 monoclonal antibody. Only one of the two proteins is recognized by the 1F11 monoclonal antibody, which is highly specific for P-450 1, and the immunoprecipitated protein exhibits the electrophoretic mobility of P-450 1. The other protein remains unidentified. Northern blot analysis indicates that the 3' noncoding portion of p1-8 hybridizes to higher steady state concentrations of polyadenylated RNA in the 21H as compared to 21L rabbits. This correspondence in expression with that of P-450 1 in the 21H and 21L phenotypes further suggests that p1-8 encodes P-450 1 or a closely related protein. The cDNA is 1871 base pairs in length and encodes a protein of 487 amino acids. Southern blot analysis indicates that several independent, gene-like sequences hybridize with the 3' noncoding region of p1-8 under conditions of high stringency. These results indicate that P-450 1 is a member of an extensive multigene family.