The comparison of the small molecule metabolism pathways in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) shows that 271 enzymes are common to both organisms. These common enzymes involve 384 gene products in E. coli and 390 in yeast, which are between one half and two thirds of the gene products of small molecule metabolism in E. coli and yeast, respectively. The arrangement and family membership of the domains that form all or part of 374 E. coli sequences and 343 yeast sequences was determined. Of these, 70% consist entirely of homologous domains, and 20% have homologous domains linked to other domains that are unique to E. coli, yeast, or both. Over two thirds of the enzymes common to the two organisms have sequence identities between 30% and 50%. The remaining groups include 13 clear cases of nonorthologous displacement. Our calculations show that at most one half to two thirds of the gene products involved in small molecule metabolism are common to E. coli and yeast. We have shown that the common core of 271 enzymes has been largely conserved since the separation of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including modifications for regulatory purposes, such as gene fusion and changes in the number of isozymes in one of the two organisms. Only one fifth of the common enzymes have nonhomologous domains between the two organisms. Around the common core very different extensions have been made to small molecule metabolism in the two organisms.