Automated partial DNA sequencing was conducted on more than 600 randomly selected human brain complementary DNA (cDNA) clones to generate expressed sequence tags (ESTs). ESTs have applications in the discovery of new human genes, mapping of the human genome, and identification of coding regions in genomic sequences. Of the sequences generated, 337 represent new genes, including 48 with significant similarity to genes from other organisms, such as a yeast RNA polymerase II subunit; Drosophila kinesin, Notch, and Enhancer of split; and a murine tyrosine kinase receptor. Forty-six ESTs were mapped to chromosomes after amplification by the polymerase chain reaction. This fast approach to cDNA characterization will facilitate the tagging of most human genes in a few years at a fraction of the cost of complete genomic sequencing, provide new genetic markers, and serve as a resource in diverse biological research fields.