We identified two genes for alternative oxidase (AOX) from rice. One AOX gene (designated AOX1a) is located approx. 1.9 kb downstream of another AOX gene (designated AOX1b). Comparison of the genomic and cDNA sequences of the two AOX genes showed that the AOX1a gene is interrupted by three introns, as are AOX genes of other plants. On the other hand, two introns are inserted in the AOX1b gene. The predicted AOX1a and AOX1b precursor proteins consist of 332 and 335 amino acid residues, respectively. A genomic Southern hybridization analysis indicated that rice has several AOX genes other than the two tandem-arranged AOX genes. Steady-state mRNA levels of both of the genes for AOX1a and AOX1b were increased under low temperature (4 degrees C). However, no difference in the pattern of induction of transcription between the genes for AOX1a and AOX1b was observed.