The human TCR beta-chain gene complex includes at least 57 variable (V) gene segments, a number estimated using a combination of Southern blots of conventional and pulsed field gels, sequence analysis of cDNA clones, and from the analysis of genomic cosmid and phage clones. This number includes six TCR beta-chain V genes in four new families identified here by sequence analysis of clones derived from a human TCR beta-chain specific cDNA library. Comparison of the sequences of the new V beta genes with previously reported V beta sequences reveals predicted similarities but less than 75% nucleic acid identity that establishes them as new V beta families. One of the new V beta gene families includes three genes and the other three are single member families. Identification of these six new V beta genes falling into four V beta families brings the total number of transcribed human V beta families to 24 and makes it possible to refine the estimate of the total number of human TCR V beta genes to 57.

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