RNA editing in the kinetoplastid Trypanosoma brucei results in the addition and deletion of uridine residues within several mitochondrial mRNAs. The site and number of uridines added appears to be directed by small (approximately 70 nt) guide RNAs (gRNAs), which can base pair to the edited sequences. We examined reactions involving synthetic cytochrome b (CYb) gRNA and pre-edited mRNA in vitro. A major product of the in vitro reaction is a chimeric RNA molecule containing both gRNA and mRNA sequences. Formation of the CYb gRNA-mRNA chimera was specific, since such molecules did not accumulate when either the gRNA or mRNA was substituted with control RNAs. The reaction required a free 3' hydroxyl on the gRNA and was unaffected by capping of the gRNA's 5' end. Direct RNA sequencing indicated that the CYb gRNA is covalently linked via its 3' poly(U) tail to one of the editing sites on the CYb mRNA. These results suggest that the U's added during editing are donated by the poly(U) tail of a gRNA via a chimeric gRNA-mRNA intermediate.