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Members of the RecQ helicase superfamily have been implicated in DNA repair, recombination and replication. Although the genome of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes only a single member of this family, there are at least five human RecQ-related genes: RecQL, BLM, WRN, RecQ4 and RecQ5. Mutations in at least three of these are associated with diseases involving a predisposition to malignancies and a cellular phenotype that includes increased chromosome instability. Metazoan RecQ helicases are defined by a core region with characteristic helicase motifs and sequence similarity to Escherichia coli RecQ protein. This core region is typically flanked by extensive, highly charged regions, of largely unknown function. The recently reported human RecQ5, however, has only the core RecQ-homologous region. We describe here the identification of the Drosophila RecQ5 gene. We recovered cDNAs corresponding to three alternative splice forms of the RecQ5 transcript. Two of these generate nearly identical 54 kDa proteins that, like human RecQ5, consist of the helicase core only. The third splice variant encodes a 121 kDa isoform that, like other family members, has a C-terminal extension rich in charged residues. A combination of RACE and cDNA analysis of human RECQ5 demonstrates extensive alternative splicing for this gene also, including some forms lacking helicase motifs and other conserved regions.