A simple in vitro system that supports chromatin assembly was developed for Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The assembly reaction is ATP-dependent, uses soluble histones and assembly factors, and generates physiologically spaced nucleosomes. We analyze the pathway of histone recruitment into nucleosomes, using this system in combination with genetic methods for the manipulation of yeast. This analysis supports the model of sequential recruitment of H3/H4 tetramers and H2A/H2B dimers into nucleosomes. Using a similar approach, we show that DNA ligase I can play an important role in template repair during assembly. These studies demonstrate the utility of this system for the combined biochemical and genetic analysis of chromatin assembly in yeast.