Mycoplasmas (class Mollicutes) are wall-less prokaryotes phylogenetically related to gram-positive bacteria. This study describes the construction of recA mutants of the mycoplasma Acholeplasma laidlawii. An internal fragment of the recA gene from A. laidlawii was cloned into a plasmid that does not replicate in this organism. When this plasmid construct was used to transform A. laidlawii, it inserted into the chromosome, disrupting the recA gene. The pheno-type of the resulting recA mutant was compared to that of wild-type cells and to that of a strain that has a naturally occurring ochre mutation in its recA gene. As found in other bacterial systems, loss of RecA activity resulted in cells deficient in DNA repair. © 1992.