We have used inactivation of transcription by UV irradiation to map transcription units in trypanosomes. The relative inactivation rate of the transcription of mini-exon, 5S, and rRNA genes was inversely proportional to the previously estimated lengths of these transcription units. The telomeric transcription unit containing the gene for variant-specific surface glycoprotein (VSG) 221 was inactivated as a single unit of 60 kb. This long transcription unit comprises at least one other protein-coding gene and yields seven other stable mRNAs. These data thus provide evidence for a multicistronic transcription unit for cellular genes in a eukaryote.