The nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the harbor seal, Phoca vitulina, was determined. The total length of the molecule was 16,826 bp. The organization of the coding regions of the molecule conforms with that of other mammals, but the control region is unusually long. A considerable portion of the control region is made up of short repeats with the motif GTACAC particularly frequent. The two rRNA genes and the 13 peptide-coding genes of the harbor seal, fin whale, cow, human, mouse, and rat were compared and the relationships between the different species assessed. At ordinal level the 12S rRNA gene and 7 out of the 13 peptide-coding genes yielded a congruent topological tree of the mtDNA relationship between the seal, cow, whale, human, and the rodents. In this tree the whale and the cow join first, and this clade is most closely related to the seal.