Virus particles banding at 1.34 g/ml in CsCl and sedimenting at 160S in sucrose gradients were isolated from fecal specimens of patients suffering from hepatitis. In the presence of 4 M urea and about 90% formamide, these particles released linear nucleic acid molecules of the kinked appearance characteristic of single-stranded RNA or single-stranded DNA. They could be distinguished from the nucleic acid of phage lambda added to the preparation as a marker for double-stranded configuration. Experiments in which the virus particles under investigation were incubated at pH 12.9 at 50 degrees C for 30 min revealed that their nucleic acid molecules were hydrolyzed as readily as the RNA genome of poliovirus type 2 analyzed in parallel. Both the single-stranded DNA of phage phiX174 and that of parvovirus LuIII, however, proved unaffected by this treatment, and the double-stranded DNA of phage lambda was denatured to single-stranded molecules. It was concluded, therefore, that the virus of human hepatitis A contains a linear genome of single-stranded RNA and has to be classified with the picornaviruses.