Fourteen oligonucleotides 8-21 nucleotides in length and their complements were synthesized as DNA and RNA. For each sequence, four kinds of duplexes, DNA:DNA, RNA:RNA, DNA:RNA, and RNA:DNA, were prepared. Twelve sequences had A.T/U content varying from 25 to 80% and dPy content in the DNA strands varying from 0 to 100%. Thermodynamic stabilities of four duplexes for each sequence were determined in solution containing 100 mM Na+, 10 mM phosphate, and 0.1 mM EDTA, pH 7.1. CD spectra and electrophoretic mobility on native polyacrylamide gel were measured for most duplexes. Quantitative correlations of hybrid stability both with deoxypyrimidine content and, at fixed dPy content, with the fraction of A.T/U in duplexes were found. We also demonstrated that hybrids with 70-80% deoxypyrimidine DNA strand and a high or moderate A.T/U fraction displayed the highest relative stability compared to their RNA counterparts. Relationships of relative intensities of CD bands at 210 nm and relative electrophoretic mobilities of hybrids with relative hybrid stability suggested that hybrid conformation varies continuously between A- and B-form and is the decisive factor in relative hybrid stability.