cDNAs encoding a novel member of the cadherin cell adhesion receptor family were cloned. This cadherin is expressed in the retina of the chicken and is termed R-cadherin. It is similar to other cadherins in its primary structure, but most resembles N-cadherin, showing 74% amino acid identity. Cells expressing R-cadherin can adhere to those expressing N-cadherin when mixed, but they form homotypic clusters within their chimeric aggregates. In the development of the neural retina, R-cadherin begins to be expressed around embryonic day 8 in both neuronal and glial cells, and this expression continues up to the hatching stage. The pattern of the expression of R-cadherin was different from that of N-cadherin, suggesting distinctive roles in retinal morphogenesis.