Identifying the mechanisms of eukaryotic genome evolution by comparative genomics is often complicated by the multiplicity of events that have taken place throughout the history of individual lineages, leaving only distorted and superimposed traces in the genome of each living organism. The hemiascomycete yeasts, with their compact genomes, similar lifestyle and distinct sexual and physiological properties, provide a unique opportunity to explore such mechanisms. We present here the complete, assembled genome sequences of four yeast species, selected to represent a broad evolutionary range within a single eukaryotic phylum, that after analysis proved to be molecularly as diverse as the entire phylum of chordates. A total of approximately 24,200 novel genes were identified, the translation products of which were classified together with Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins into about 4,700 families, forming the basis for interspecific comparisons. Analysis of chromosome maps and genome redundancies reveal that the different yeast lineages have evolved through a marked interplay between several distinct molecular mechanisms, including tandem gene repeat formation, segmental duplication, a massive genome duplication and extensive gene loss.