The 1788-nucleotide sequence of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA (srRNA) coding region from the chlorophyte Volvox carteri was determined. The secondary structure bears features typical of the universal model of srRNA, including about 40 helices and a division into four domains. Phylogenetic relationships to 17 other eukaryotes, including two other chlorophytes, were explored by comparing srRNA sequences. Similarity values and the inspection of phylogenetic trees derived by distance matrix methods revealed a close relationship between V. carteri and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The results are consistent with the view that these Volvocales, and the third green alga, Nanochlorum eucaryotum, are more closely related to higher plants than to any other major eukaryotic group, but constitute a distinct lineage that has long been separated from the line leading to the higher plants.