The 17–18S, 5.8S, and 25–28S rRNA species of eukaryotic cells are produced by a series of nucleolytic reactions that liberate the mature rRNAs from the large primary precursor transcript synthesized by RNA polymerase I. Whereas the order of the cleavage reactions has long been established, until recently little information was available on their molecular details, such as the nature of the proteins, including the nucleolytic enzymes, involved and the signals directing the processing machinery to the correct sites. This situation is now rapidly changing, in particular where yeast is concerned. The use of recently developed systems for in vivo mutational analysis of yeast rDNA has considerably enhanced our knowledge of cis-acting structural features within the pre-rRNA, in particular the transcribed spacer sequences, that are critical for correct and efficient removal of these spacers. The same systems also allow a link to be forged between trans-acting processing factors and these cis-acting elements. In this paper, we will focus predominantly on the nature and role of the cis-acting processing elements as identified in the transcribed spacer regions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae pre-rRNA.Key words: ribosome, processing, precursor rRNA, eukaryote, transcribed spacer.