The accumulation of labeled phosphorus into newly synthesized nucleic acids or peanut cotyledon slices incubated with chloramphenicol, puromycin, or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was reduced. Promotion of nucleic acid synthesis was not noted by any of these chemicals. Chloramphenicol completely inhibited the synthesis of the DNA-RNA fraction at 1.25 x 10(-3)m while soluble and ribosomal RNA was inhibited by 70% and 80%, respectively. At the same concentration messenger RNA was inhibited by only 40%. These effects suggest that chloramphenicol inhibit nucleic acid synthesis in peanut cotyledons in a differential manner. Similar results were noted for DNA at low concentrations of 2,4-D. However, at high concentrations of 2,4-D, DNA as well as RNA fractions were inhibited in a similar manner at a given concentration. Puromycin did not differentially inhibit nucleic acid synthesis except at 2 x 10(-3)m where DNA was least inhibited.Nondifferential inhibition suggests that a common site or precursor pool essential for the synthesis of all nucleic acid fractions is altered. Differential inhibition may be due to the interference with a specific rate-limiting step, directly or indirectly, in the formation of a particular nucleic acid.