Phylogenetic relationships and rates of nucleotide substitution were studied for alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) genes by using DNA sequences from mammals and plants. Mammalian ADH sequences include the three class I genes and a class II gene from humans and one gene each from baboon, rat, and mouse. Plant sequences include two ADH genes each from maize and rice, three genes from barley, and one gene each from wheat and two dicots, Arabidopsis and pea. Phylogenetic trees show that relationships among ADH genes are generally consistent with taxonomic relationships: mammalian and plant ADH genes are classified into two distinct groups; primate class I genes are clustered; and two dicot sequences are clustered separately from monocot sequences. Accelerated evolution has been detected among the duplicated ADH genes in plants, in which synonymous substitutions occurred more often within the coenzyme-binding domain than within the catalytic domains.