Three main features regarding the loss of mitochondrial genetic markers among rho- mutants induced by ultraviolet irradiation are reported: (a) the frequency of loss of six loci examined increases with UV dose; (b) preferential loss of one region of the mitochondrial genome observed in spontaneous rho- mutants is enhanced by UV; and (c) the loss of each marker results from large deletions. Marker loss in rho- mutants was also investigated under conditions that modulate rho- induction. Liquid holding of irradiated exponential or stationary phase cells, as well as a split-dose regime applied to stationary phase cells, results in rho- mutants in which the loss of markers is correlated with rho- induction: the more sensitive the cells are to rho- induction, the more frequent are the marker losses among rho- clones derived from these cells. This correlation is not found in exponential-phase cells submitted to a split-dose treatment, suggesting that a different mechanism is involved in the latter case. It is known that UV-induced pyrimidine dimers are not excised in a controlled manner in mitochondrial DNA. However, our studies indicate that an accurate repair mechanism (of the recombinational type?) can lead to the restoration of mitochondrial genetic information in growing cells.