Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive degenerative disorder that primarily affects the nervous system and heart. Patients with FRDA have point mutations or trinucleotide repeat expansions in both alleles of FRDA, which encodes a protein termed frataxin. We show that the yeast frataxin homologue, which we have named YFH1, localizes to mitochondria and is required to maintain mitochondrial DNA. The YFH1-homologous domain of frataxin functions in yeast and a disease-associated missense mutation of this domain, or the corresponding domain in YFH1, reduces function. Our data suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to FRDA pathophysiology.