Human neuroblastomas frequently display amplification and augmented expression of a gene known as N-myc because of its similarity to the protooncogene c-myc. It has therefore been proposed that N-myc is itself a protooncogene, and subsequent tests have shown that N-myc and c-myc have similar biological activities in cell culture. We have now detailed the kinship between N-myc and c-myc by determining the nucleotide sequence of human N-myc and deducing the amino acid sequence of the protein encoded by the gene. The topography of N-myc is strikingly similar to that of c-myc: both genes contain three exons of similar lengths; the coding elements of both genes are located in the second and third exons; and both genes have unusually long 5' untranslated regions in their mRNAs, with features that raise the possibility that expression of the genes may be subject to similar controls of translation. The resemblance between the proteins encoded by N-myc and c-myc sustains previous suspicions that the genes encode related functions.