The rice species Oryza sativa is considered to be a model plant because of its small genome size, extensive genetic map, relative ease of transformation and synteny with other cereal crops. Here we report the essentially complete sequence of chromosome 1, the longest chromosome in the rice genome. We summarize characteristics of the chromosome structure and the biological insight gained from the sequence. The analysis of 43.3 megabases (Mb) of non-overlapping sequence reveals 6,756 protein coding genes, of which 3,161 show homology to proteins of Arabidopsis thaliana, another model plant. About 30% (2,073) of the genes have been functionally categorized. Rice chromosome 1 is (G + C)-rich, especially in its coding regions, and is characterized by several gene families that are dispersed or arranged in tandem repeats. Comparison with a draft sequence indicates the importance of a high-quality finished sequence.