Genes affecting acetylcholine (ACh) levels without influencing choline acetyltransferase activity have been identified in Caenorhabditis elegans. We have examined one such gene, unc-18. We isolated a transposon-insertion allele for unc-18 and used it to clone a genomic region containing the unc-18 locus. The unc-18 location within this region was determined by rescuing the unc-18 mutant phenotype in a germ-line transformation experiment and identifying transcripts affected by four independent unc-18 mutations. A single-sized poly(A)+ RNA was synthesized from the gene. Expression of the transcript appears to be stage specific: The transcript is found in abundance at the early larval stage but in decreased amounts at the fourth larval and the adult stages. These results show that the unc-18 gene plays a role in development as well as in the kinetics of ACh metabolism.