The sequence of a 8351-nucleotide mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragment has been obtained extending the knowledge of the Drosophila melanogaster mitochondrial genome to 90% of its coding region. The sequence encodes seven polypeptides, 12 tRNAs and the 3' end of the 16S rRNA and CO III genes. The gene organization is strictly conserved with respect to the Drosophila yakuba mitochondrial genome, and different from that found in mammals and Xenopus. The high A + T content of D. melanogaster mitochondrial DNA is reflected in a reiterative codon usage, with more than 90% of the codons ending in T or A, G + C rich codons being practically absent. The average level of homology between the D. melanogaster and D. yakuba sequences is very high (roughly 94%), although insertion and deletions have been detected in protein, tRNA and large ribosomal genes. The analysis of nucleotide changes reveals a similar frequency for transitions and transversions, and reflects a strong bias against G + C on both strands. The predominant type of transition is strand specific.