It has been reported that CUG, a universal leucine codon, is read as serine in an asporogenic yeast, Candida cylindracea. The distribution of this non-universal genetic code in various yeast species was studied using an in vitro translation assay system with a synthetic messenger RNA containing CUG codons in-frame. It was found that CUG is used as a serine codon in six out of the fourteen species examined, while it is used for leucine in the remaining eight. The tRNA species responsible for the translation of codon CUG as serine was detected in all the six species in which CUG is translated as serine. The grouping according to the CUG codon assignments in these yeast species shows a good correlation with physiological classification by the chain lengths of the isoprenoid moiety of ubiquinone and the cell-wall sugar contained in the yeasts. The six Candida species examined in which CUG is used as serine belong to one distinct group in Hemiascomycetes.