Fredericamycin (FDM) A, a pentadecaketide featuring two sets of peri-hydroxy tricyclic aromatic moieties connected through a unique chiral spiro carbon center, exhibits potent cytotoxicity and has been studied as a new type of anticancer drug lead because of its novel molecular architecture. The fdm gene cluster was localized to 33-kb DNA segment of Streptomyces griseus ATCC 49344, and its involvement in FDM A biosynthesis was proven by gene inactivation, complementation, and heterologous expression experiments. The fdm cluster consists of 28 open reading frames (ORFs), encoding a type II polyketide synthase (PKS) and tailoring enzymes as well as several regulatory and resistance proteins. The FDM PKS features a KSalpha subunit with heretofore unseen tandem cysteines at its active site, a KSbeta subunit that is distinct phylogenetically from KSbeta of hexa-, octa-, or decaketide PKSs, and a dedicated phosphopantetheinyl transferase. Further study of the FDM PKS could provide new insight into how a type II PKS controls chain length in aromatic polyketide biosynthesis. The availability of the fdm genes, in vivo characterization of the fdm cluster in S. griseus, and heterologous expression of the fdm cluster in Streptomyces albus set the stage to investigate FDM A biosynthesis and engineer the FDM biosynthetic machinery for the production of novel FDM A analogues.