The complete nucleotide sequence of the coding region of the chicken carbonic anhydrase II (CA II) gene has been determined from clones isolated from a chicken genomic library. The sequence of a nearly full length chicken CA II cDNA clone has also been obtained. The gene is approximately 17 kilobase pairs (kb) in size and codes for a protein that is comprised of 259 amino acid residues. The 5' flanking region contains consensus sequences commonly associated with eucaryotic genes transcribed by RNA polymerase II. Six introns ranging in size from 0.3 to 10.2 kb interrupt the gene. The number of introns as well as five of the six intron locations are conserved between the chicken and mouse CA II genes. The site of the fourth intron is shifted by 14 base pairs further 3' in the chicken and thus falls between codons 147 and 148 rather than within codon 143 as in the mouse gene. Measurements of CA II RNA levels in various cell types suggest that CA II RNA increases in parallel with globin RNA during erythropoiesis and exists only at low levels, if at all, in non-erythroid cells.