During the chronic stage of Chagas disease a 160 kDa antigen appears in the blood of patients and remains detectable many years after the onset of the disease. This antigen is secreted by the trypomastigote form of the parasite while it is undetectable in the epimastigote form. We report here that the chronic 160 kDa exoantigen is encoded by a gene family (CEA 160 family). We describe the cloning and partial nucleotide sequence of a gene (CEA 160–1) belonging to the CEA160 family. Comparison of the gene sequence with other sequences present in the databases revealed homologies with several Trypanosoma cruzi surface antigens. Highest amino acid identity (59%) was with members of a family containing epitopes that mimic nervous tissues (Van Voorhis et al. 1993). Another related group (18–22% amino acid identity) comprises proteins of 85 or 160 kDa sharing an amino acid motif that is conserved among bacterial neuraminidases (Fouts et al. 1991; Pollevick et al. 1991; Kahn et al. 1991; Takle & Cross, 1991; Franco et al. 1993). The amino acid identities with the different antigens were not homogeneously distributed. Regions of higher identity (40–60%) were grouped in the central region of each protein.