Cajal bodies are small nuclear organelles first described nearly 100 years ago by Ramón y Cajal in vertebrate neural tissues. They have since been found in a variety of animal and plant nuclei, suggesting that they are involved in basic cellular processes. Cajal bodies contain a marker protein of unknown function, p80-coilin, and many components involved in transcription and processing of nuclear RNAs. Among these are the three eukaryotic RNA polymerases and factors required for transcribing and processing their respective nuclear transcripts: mRNA, rRNA, and pol III transcripts. A model is discussed in which Cajal bodies are the sites for preassembly of transcriptosomes, unitary particles involved in transcription and processing of RNA. A parallel is drawn to the nucleolus and the preassembly of ribosomes, which are unitary particles involved in translation of proteins.