The amino acid sequences of haemoglobin-like proteins from the bacteria Alcaligenes eutrophus, Bacillus subtilis, Erwinia chrysanthemi, Escherichia coli, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vitreoscilla sp. and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae were studied. Phylogenies based on distance and parsimony analysis showed that the eubacterial group can be easily distinguished from the other haemoglobin-like proteins. The construction of a consensus bacterial flavohaemoglobin based on the alignment of six bacterial and one yeast globins allowed the design of consensus primers to search for haemoglobin-like genes in other bacteria. PCR products of the expected size were found in Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.