Southern blotting of DNA from the ascomycetous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica revealed two major size classes of DNA units coding for rRNAs, which differ in length by about 1000 bp. We have cloned an rDNA unit of each size class. R-looping experiments revealed that the rRNA genes of both units are uninterrupted; subsequent heteroduplex analysis showed that the size difference both units is located within the nontranscribed spacer. Sequence analysis revealed that a major part of these spacers consists of a complex pattern of repetitions in periodicities of up to about 150 bp and that the difference between both rDNA units are located mainly in this repetitive region. Apart from different lengths of the repetitive regions, both rDNA units also reveal extended microheterogeneity within their homologous parts. Furthermore, no gene for 5S rRNA was observed in the spacer region. Therefore, the organization of the spacer of Yarrowia rDNA is clearly different from that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.