Initial amplification and sequencing of a 366-bp fragment of the cytochrome b gene by a conserved primer pair (MVZ 03 and MVZ 04) revealed a nonfunctional copy of the gene with two deletions (one of which is 17 bp in length and the other of which is 3 bp in length) in Chroeomys jelskii, a South American akodontine rodent. By means of an alternative primer to MVZ 03--namely, MVZ 05--from the region of the tRNA for glutamic acid, a functional copy of cytochrome b was subsequently amplified. Both primer pairs amplify functional sequence when applied to purified mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Restriction-endonuclease digestion of purified mtDNA from C. jelskii did not reveal any additional sets of bands that would suggest heteroplasmy in the mitochondrial genome. When probed with both functional and nonfunctional gene fragments, MboI restriction digests revealed the same pattern, providing further evidence that the nonfunctional copy must be located in the nucleus. Observed differences in the mitochondrial and nuclear sequences from two populations are consistent with a faster rate of change in mtDNA than in nuclear DNA.