As part of the worldwide efforts at molecular analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant the complete structure of the mitochondrial genome has been determined. The mitochondrial DNA molecules were mapped by restriction fragment analysis of more than 300 cosmid clones and purified mitochondrial DNA. The entire genome of 372 kb is contained in three different configurations of circular molecules and is split into two additional subgenomic molecules of 234 kb and 138 kb, respectively. These arrangements result from recombinations of the two sets of repeats present in combinations of inverted and/or direct orientation. Alignment of YAC clones confirms the in vivo presence of continuous DNA molecules of more than 300 kb in A. thaliana mitochondria. The presence of this comparatively large mitochondrial genome in a plant with one of the smallest nuclear genomes shows that different size constraints act upon the different genomes in plant cells.