The cDNA sequence for apolipophorin-III from two strains of Bombyx mori (N4 and P50) and the Japanese and Chinese strains of Bombyx mandarina were determined. Both the cDNA and deduced amino acid sequences of the four apolipophorin-IIIs were highly similar (95-98%). The four Bombyx sequences also showed significant similarity to the sequence of apolipophorin-III from another lepidopteran, Manduca sexta (83-84%), particularly in the five amphipathic alpha-helices that are proposed to play a critical role in the binding of apolipophorin-III to lipophorin. In the coding region, the nucleotide sequences for the Chinese strain of B. mandarina and the P50 strain of B. mori were identical, supporting the suggestion that P50 is the current strain most closely related to the original domesticated strain. The N4 strain of B. mori is more closely related to these two strains than is the Japanese strain of B. mandarina, suggesting that Japanese strain of B. mandarina separated from the Chinese strain of B. mandarina before domestication of B. mori. Arch.