Finger associated box-zinc finger proteins (FAX-ZFPs) constitute a subfamily of the many C2H2 type ZFPs in Xenopus laevis. FAX is a highly conserved protein domain connected to variable zinc finger clusters. Three different FAX-ZFPs encoding genomic fragments were isolated and subjected to a detailed structural characterization. All three exhibit a common, highly conserved exon/intron organization, with the variant zinc finger clusters organized in a single exon for each gene analysed. Two of the three genomic fragments contain a second FAX-ZFP encoding (partial) transcription unit each. Further evidence for a clustered organization of FAX-ZFP transcription units is provided by Southern blot analysis of large genomic restriction fragments separated by transverse field gel electrophoresis, and by in situ hybridization on intact chromosomes. Comparative sequence analysis of the genes isolated reveals an exceptional degree of DNA sequence conservation in both exon and intron regions in one part of the FAX encoding region, suggesting that recent gene conversion has led to the combination of these sequence elements with DNA segments including regions encoding variant zinc finger clusters. Overexpression of the FAX domain by itself or of a full-length FAX-ZFP in X. laevis embryos by means of mRNA injection does not interfere with the normal developmental program, suggesting general and not cell specific/regulatory functions for X. laevis FAX-ZFPs.