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Repression of an essential nucleolar small nuclear RNA (snRNA) gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was shown to result in impaired production of 18S rRNA. The effect, observed for an snRNA species of 128 nucleotides (snR128), was evident within one generation after the onset of SNR128 gene repression and correlated well with depletion of the snRNA. The steady-state mass ratio of 18S RNA to 25S RNA decreased eightfold over the course of the analysis. Results from pulse-chase assays revealed the basis of the imbalance to be underaccumulation of 18S RNA and its 20S precursor. This effect appears to result from impairment of processing of the 35S rRNA transcript at sites that define the 20S species coupled with rapid turnover of unstable intermediates. Possible bases for the effects observed are discussed. A common U14 designation is proposed for the structurally related yeast snRNA and 4.5S hybRNAs from amphibians and mammals.