We report the cloning and sequencing of genomic DNA encoding a cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In a contiguous stretch of 35,103 bp of DNA from the left arm of linkage group I, we have found a gene that is predicted to encode a protein of 4,568 amino acids. This gene is composed of 15 exons and 14 relatively short introns, and it has significant homology to the other dynein heavy chains in the databases. The deduced molecular mass of the derived polypeptide is 512,624 Da. As with other dynein heavy chains that have been sequenced to date, it contains four GXXGXGK(S/T) motifs that form part of a consensus sequence for the nucleotide triphosphate-binding domains. Comparison of the axonemal and cytoplasmic dynein heavy chains shows that regions of homology among all dyneins are clustered in the carboxyl terminal two-thirds of the polypeptide, whereas the amino terminal one-third of the heavy chains may contain domains that specify functions that differ between the axonemal and cytoplasmic forms of the dynein heavy chain.