We have compared the mutagenic properties of a T-T cyclobutane dimer in baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with those in Escherichia coli by transforming each of these species with the same single-stranded shuttle vector carrying either the cis-syn or the trans-syn isomer of this UV photoproduct at a unique site. The mutagenic properties investigated were the frequency of replicational bypass of the photoproduct, the error rate of bypass, and the mutation spectrum. In SOS-induced E. coli, the cis-syn dimer was bypassed in approximately 16% of the vector molecules, and 7.6% of the bypass products had targeted mutations. In S. cerevisiae, however, bypass occurred in about 80% of these molecules, and the bypass was at least 19-fold more accurate (approximately 0.4% targeted mutations). Each of these yeast mutations was a single unique event, and none were like those in E. coli, suggesting that in fact the difference in error rate is much greater. Bypass of the trans-syn dimer occurred in about 17% of the vector molecules in both species, but with this isomer the error rate was higher in S. cerevisiae (21 to 36% targeted mutations) than in E. coli (13%). However, the spectra of mutations induced by the latter photoproduct were virtually identical in the two organisms. We conclude that bypass and error frequencies are determined both by the structure of the photoproduct-containing template and by the particular replication proteins concerned but that the types of mutations induced depend predominantly on the structure of the template. Unlike E. coli, bypass in S. cerevisiae did not require UV-induced functions.