A gene ( NANOC-D6D) encoding a desaturase that removes two hydrogen atoms from fatty acids at delta 6 position was isolated from a cDNA library of Nannochloropsis oculata (Droop) D. J. Hibberd (Eustigmatophyceae). The unicellular marine microalga N. oculata synthesizes rich long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), including eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA). The deduced protein contains 474 amino acids that fold into 4 trans-membrane domains. The neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree indicates that NANOC-D6D is phylogenetically close to the delta-6 fatty acid desaturase of marine microalgae such as Glossomastix chrysoplasta, Thalassiosira pseudonana, and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. The gene was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae INVScl to verify the substrate specificity of NANOC-D6D. Our results suggest that the recombinant NANOC-D6D simultaneously desaturates linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA).