A forward mutation system has been developed to obtain rapidly clonable mutants at the URA3 locus in yeast by means of selection for 5-fluoroorotic acid resistance. We have used this system to determine base changes in 35 spontaneous and 34 ultraviolet radiation-induced ura3 base substitution mutants. Other mutants (frameshift, deletion, duplication, replacement) were detected as well. Evidence is reported which suggests cyclobutane dimers are the principal mutagenic lesions induced by UV radiation in stationary phase cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since most of the induced lesions are at 5'-TT-3' sites, the results suggest that the "A-rule", preferential insertion of adenine residues opposite poorly pairing sites in DNA, does not apply for yeast cells irradiated in stationary phase, whereas the spontaneous mutation data indicate that the A-rule applies for cells in logarithmic phase. Most of the spontaneous mutations are transversions. UV-induced transitions and transversions occur at approximately equal frequencies.