A search for homeobox-containing genes was done in the genome of a primitive metazoan, the parasitic tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus. Five different homeoboxes were isolated, none of them belonging to the classical Antennapedia-type. Three of the homeodomains are similar to those from the Drosophila melanogaster NK-type genes. The fourth homeodomain shares extensive identity with that of the recently reported homeobox-containing gene goosecoid from Xenopus laevis. The third helix (the recognition helix) of the fifth isolated homeodomain is identical to that of the Xlim-1 gene of X. laevis and the lin11 gene of Caenorharbditis elegans. Using PCR, some Antennapedia-type homeoboxes were cloned from the genome of two other Platyhelminthes, Dugesia tigrina (planaria) and Fasciola hepatica. These data suggest that, contrary to what is found for the majority of the more complex metazoans, Platyhelminthes contain few homeobox genes belonging to the Antennapedia-type.