We have identified a family of small repeated sequences (from 60 to 66 bp in length) in the mitochondrial genome of rice (Oryza sativa cv. Nipponbare). There are at least ten copies of these sequences and they are distributed throughout the mitochondrial genome. Each is potentially capable of forming a stem-and-loop structure and we have designated them PRSs (palindromic repeated sequences). Their features are reminiscent of the small dispersed repeats in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of some lower eukaryotes, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Some of the PRSs of rice mtDNA are located in the intron of the gene for ribosomal protein S3 (rps3) and in the flanking sequence of the gene for chloroplast-like tRNA(Asn) (trnN). analysis of PCR-amplified fragments of these regions from the DNA of some Gramineae suggests that the PRSs were inserted into these regions of the Oryza mtDNA after the divergence of Oryza from the other Gramineae.