An apoptotic phenotype induced by oxygen radicals or Bax expression has been observed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells by electron and fluorescence microscopy. In this work, we analyzed DNA content and cellular morphology of S. cerevisiae after H(2)O(2) or UV treatment by TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL)-test and flow cytofluorimetry. A TUNEL-positive phenotype was observed in both cases, on the same samples a dose-dependent increase in the sub-G(1) population was pointed out by flow cytometry. Sub-G(1) cells were isolated by flow sorting and analyzed by electron microscopy. This population showed condensed chromatin in the nucleus and cell shrinking. This paper reports the first evidence of apoptosis in yeast cells induced by DNA damage after UV irradiation.