The nature of UV-induced pre-recombinational structures was studied using transformation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells with non-replicative plasmids. Transformation by double-stranded plasmids irradiated with UV was stimulated up to 50-fold, and both plasmid integration and conversion of the mutated chromosomal selective gene were found to be equally increased. The stimulation observed with such 'totally' irradiated plasmids was not found with plasmids bearing lesions in only one strand. This effect is attributed to the formation by excision repair of recombinogenic structures consisting of a pyrimidine dimer opposite a gap. When single-stranded integrative plasmids were irradiated, their transforming potential was decreased but the proportion of transformants that arose by gene conversion, rather than by plasmid integration, was increased from 8% to 49% as a function of the UV dose. Possible reasons why single-strand UV lesions favour gene conversion are discussed.