In this paper, we report the isolation, characterization, and mapping of the chicken transforming growth factor-beta 3 (TGF-beta 3) gene. The gene contains seven exons and six introns spanning 16-kb of the chicken genome. A comparison of the 5'-flanking regions of human and chicken TGF-beta 3 genes reveals two regions of sequence conservation. The first contains ATF/CRE and TBP/TATA sequence motifs within an 87-bp region. The second is a 162-bp region with no known sequence motifs. Identification of transcription start sites using chicken RNA isolated from various embryonic and adult tissues reveals two sites of initiation, P1 and P2, which map to these two conserved regions. Comparison of 3'-flanking regions of chicken and mammalian TGF-beta 3 genes also revealed conserved sequences. The most significant homologies were found in the 3'-most end of the transcribed region. DNA sequence analysis of chicken TGF-beta 3 cDNAs isolated by 3'-RACE revealed multiple polyadenylation sites unusually distant from a poly(A) signal motif. A Msc I restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) marker was used to map the TGFB3 locus to linkage group E7 on the East Lansing reference backcross. Linkage to the TH locus showed that the TGFB3 locus was physically located on chicken chromosome 5.