The sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MyHC) proteins are a family of molecular motors responsible for the transduction of chemical energy into mechanical work in striated muscle. The vertebrate genome contains multiple copies of the MyHC gene, and expression of different isoforms correlates with differences in the physiological properties of muscle fibers. Most MyHC isoforms are found in two arrays, one containing the "fast-twitch" skeletal muscle isoforms and the other the "slow-twitch" or cardiac isoforms. To extend our understanding of MyHC evolution, we have examined the genome of the anuran Xenopus tropicalis. The X. tropicalis genome includes 15 full-length MyHC genes organized in seven genomic locations. One unique array of MyHC genes is similar to the mammalian fast-skeletal array, but is not found in amniotes. The isoforms in this array are expressed during larval stages and in muscles of the adult larynx. Duplication of the fast-skeletal MyHC array appears to have led to expression divergence of muscle proteins in the larval and adult stages of the anuran life cycle. A striking similarity of gene order between regions flanking X. tropicalis MyHC arrays and human arrays was evident; genomic organization of MyHC isoforms may thus be highly conserved across tetrapods.