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Promoters were isolated at random from the genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by using a plasmid that contains a divergently arrayed pair of promoterless reporter genes. A comprehensive library was constructed by inserting random (DNase I-generated) fragments into the intergenic region upstream from the reporter genes. Simple in vivo assays for either reporter gene product (alcohol dehydrogenase or beta-galactosidase) allowed the rapid identification of promoters from among these random fragments. Poly(dA-dT) homopolymer tracts were present in three of five randomly cloned promoters. With two exceptions, each RNA start site detected was 40 to 100 base pairs downstream from a TATA element. All of the randomly cloned promoters were capable of activating reporter gene transcription bidirectionally. Interestingly, one of the promoter fragments originated in a region of the S. cerevisiae rDNA spacer; regulated divergent transcription (presumably by RNA polymerase II) initiated in the same region.