Examination of 18 complete and 6 partial sequences of the major outer-membrane protein from 24 chlamydiae isolates was used to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships. From this analysis, assuming that the clades with 100% bootstrap support are correct, come the following conclusions: (1) The tree of these sequences is not congruent with the phylogeny of the hosts, and thus host switching would seem to have occurred, thereby limiting the extent to which there has been coevolution of parasite and host. (2) The tree is also noncongruent with clustering by type of cell infected, thereby limiting the extent to which there has been coevolution of parasite and the cell type that it infects. (3) The tree is also noncongruent with clustering by the organ infected (eyes or genitalia), thereby limiting the extent to which there has been coevolution of parasite and the organ that it infects. (4) The tree is also noncongruent with genital strains arising from lymphogranuloma venereum strains. (5) The tree is also noncongruent with the geographic site at which the isolates were obtained, thereby limiting the extent of divergence explained by geographic separation. (6) There are estimated to be 185 amino acid positions that are invariable (as opposed to unvaried) in the major outer-membrane protein. There are 10 unvaried positions in the variable domains, of which 9 appear to be invariable, giving some reason to hope that development of a vaccine might be possible. (7) The rate of change of this protein is too small to see increased divergence over the time span of isolation of these genes, giving hope to any vaccine having longevity. Bootstrapping supports those portions of the tree on which the first five conclusions above depend. The picture that these results provide is more one of pathogen versatility than one of coevolutionary constraints. In addition, we examined 10 60-KDa, outer-membrane protein-2 genes, all but one of which were from these same strains. The tree was not, among the trachomatis strains, congruent with the major-outer-membrane protein tree, suggesting that gene exchange could be occurring among strains. Moreover, there is an apparent slowdown in divergence in this gene, among the trachomatis strains.