The region surrounding the steroid sulfatase (STS) locus on Xp22.3 is of particular interest since it represents a deletion hot spot, shares homology with the proximal long arm of the Y chromosome (Yq11.2), and contains genes for several well-described X-linked disorders. Here we describe yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs) covering 450 kb around the STS gene. Eight YAC clones were isolated from a human YAC library. Their STS exon content was determined and the overlap of the clones characterized. Two of the YAC clones were found to contain the entire STS gene. The most proximal and the most distal ends of the YAC contig were cloned but neither of them crossed the breakpoints in any of the previously described patients with entire STS gene deletions. This is consistent with deletions larger than 500 kb in all these patients. One of the YAC clones was found to contain sequences from the STS pseudogene on Yq11.2. Two anonymous DNA sequences, GMGXY19 and GMGXY3, previously mapped in the vicinity of the STS locus, were found within the YAC contig and their assignment with respect to the STS locus was thus possible. This contig is useful for the overlap cloning of the Xp22.3 region and for reverse genetic strategies for the isolation of disease genes in the region. Furthermore, it may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of deletion and translocation events on Xp22.3 and in the evolution of sex chromosomes.