Genomic sequences immediately upstream of the translational start site for the chicken liver cell adhesion molecule (L-CAM) gene contain a second closely related gene, which, because of its location, we have designated the K-CAM gene. Less than 700 base pairs separate the presumed poly(A) site in the K-CAM gene from the translation initiation site for L-CAM. The sizes of exons 4-15 of the K-CAM gene are almost identical to those in the L-CAM gene and the exon/intron junctions occur at exactly equivalent positions in both genes. Exon 16, which includes the 3' untranslated region, is much shorter in the K-CAM gene and intron sizes and sequences are not generally conserved between the two genes. Probes from the K-CAM gene hybridized to a 3-kilobase mRNA that was present at high levels in embryonic skin, at lower levels in kidney, heart, and gizzard, and at still lower levels in brain and liver, as determined by Northern blotting. The sequence of the predicted gene product was nearly identical to that of the chicken B-cadherin cDNA, although the distribution of the K-CAM gene transcript differed from that reported for the cadherin. The proximity and identical overall structure of the K-CAM and L-CAM genes strongly suggest that they arose by gene duplication and raise the possibility that genes for other calcium-dependent CAMs may be located in clusters. Moreover, the tandem arrangement of the genes may have important implications for the regulation of their expression.