The DNA sequence of the 15,532-base pair (bp) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the chiton Katharina tunicata has been determined. The 37 genes typical of metazoan mtDNA are present 13 for protein subunits involved in oxidative phosphorylation, 2 for rRNAs and 22 for tRNAs. The gene arrangement resembles those of arthropods much more than that of another mollusc, the bivalve Mytilus edulis. Most genes abut directly or overlap, and abbreviated stop codons are inferred for four genes. Four junctions between adjacent pairs of protein genes lack intervening tRNA genes; however, at each of these junctions there is a sequence immediately adjacent to the start codon of the downstream gene that is capable of forming a stem-and-loop structure. Analysis of the tRNA gene sequences suggests that the D arm is unpaired in tRNA(ser)(AGN), which is typical of metazoan mtDNAs, and also in tRNA(ser)(UCN), a condition found previously only in nematode mtDNAs. There are two additional sequences in Katharina mtDNA that can be folded into structures resembling tRNAs; whether these are functional genes is unknown. All possible codons except the stop codons TAA and TAG are used in the protein-encoding genes, and Katharina mtDNA appears to use the same variation of the mitochondrial genetic code that is used in Drosophila and Mytilus. Translation initiates at the codons ATG, ATA and GTG. A + T richness appears to have affected codon usage patterns and, perhaps, the amino acid composition of the encoded proteins. A 142-bp non-coding region between tRNA(glu) and CO3 contains a 72-bp tract of alternating A and T.