The set of "expansion segments" of any eukaryotic 26S/28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene is responsible for the bulk of the difference in length between the prokaryotic 23S rRNA gene and the eukaryotic 26S/28S rRNA gene. The expansion segments are also responsible for interspecific fluctuations in length during eukaryotic evolution. They show a consistent bias in base composition in any species; for example, they are AT rich in Drosophila melanogaster and GC rich in vertebrate species. Dot-matrix comparisons of sets of expansion segments reveal high similarities between members of a set within any 28S rRNA gene of a species, in contrast to the little or spurious similarity that exists between sets of expansion segments from distantly related species. Similarities among members of a set of expansion segments within any 28S rRNA gene cannot be accounted for by their base-compositional bias alone. In contrast, no significant similarity exists within a set of "core" segments (regions between expansion segments) of any 28S rRNA gene, although core segments are conserved between species. The set of expansion segments of a 26S/28S gene is coevolving as a unit in each species, at the same time as the family of 28S rRNA genes, as a whole, is undergoing continual homogenization, making all sets of expansion segments from all ribosomal DNA (rDNA) arrays in a species similar in sequence. Analysis of DNA simplicity of 26S/28S rRNA genes shows a direct correlation between significantly high relative simplicity factors (RSFs) and sequence similarity among a set of expansion segments. A similar correlation exists between RSF values, overall rDNA lengths, and the lengths of individual expansion segments. Such correlations suggest that most length fluctuations reflect the gain and loss of simple sequence motifs by slippage-like mechanisms. We discuss the molecular coevolution of expansion segments, which takes place against a background of slippage-like and unequal crossing-over mechanisms of turnover that are responsible for the accumulation of interspecific differences in rDNA sequences.