Arabidopsis thaliana provides an excellent experimental plant system for molecular genetics because of its remarkably small genome size, near absence of dispersed middle repetitive DNA, and short life cycle. We have cloned and determined the nucleotide sequence of a single-copy gene from A. thaliana likely to be the gene encoding alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH; alcohol:NAD+ oxidoreductase, EC 188.8.131.52). The gene was isolated from a random recombinant library by cross-hybridization with a maize Adh1 gene probe. The DNA sequence contains an open reading frame capable of encoding a polypeptide the same length as maize ADH1 and ADH2 (379 amino acids) and having approximately equal to 80% homology with both maize enzymes. This open reading frame is interrupted by six introns whose positions are conserved with six of the nine intron positions present in both maize genes. The 5' and 3' untranslated regions are, respectively, 58 and 204 base pairs long. Sequences important for eukaryotic gene expression such as the TATA box, polyadenylylation signal, and intron splicesite sequences are found in the expected locations. The gene hybridizes to a specific anaerobically induced RNA in Arabidopsis whose appearance correlates with the anaerobic induction of Arabidopsis ADH protein.