The primary structure of mitochondrial aspartate aminotransferase from chicken is reported. The enzyme is a dimer of identical subunits. Each subunit contains 401 amino acid residues; the calculated subunit molecular weight of the apoform is 44,866. The degree of sequence identity with the homologous cytosolic isoenzyme from chicken is 46%. A comparison of the primary structures of the mitochondrial and the cytosolic isoenzyme from pig and chicken shows that 40% of all residues are invariant. The degree of interspecies sequence identity both of the mitochondrial and the cytosolic isoenzyme from chicken and pig (86% and 83%, respectively) markedly exceeds that of the intraspecies identity between mitochondrial and cytosolic aspartate aminotransferase in chicken (46%) or in pig (48%). Based on these values, the duplication of the aspartate aminotransferase ancestral gene is estimated to have occurred approximately 1000 million years ago, i.e. at the time of the emergence of eukaryotic cells. By sequence comparison it is possible to identify amino acid residues and segments of the polypeptide chain that have been conserved specifically in the mitochondrial isoenzyme during phylogenetic evolution. These segments comprise about a third of the total polypeptide chain and appear to cluster in a certain surface region. The cluster carries an excess of positively charged residues which exceeds the overall charge difference between the cytosolic (pI approximately 6) and the mitochondrial isoenzyme (pI approximately 9).