Sequence variation at the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) locus was analyzed for six species each of the genera Arabis and Arabidopsis. Phylogenetic analysis showed that investigated species were grouped into three clusters, and the generic classification did not correspond to the clusterings. The results indicated that the genera could not be distinguished on the basis of the Adh variation. A significant difference in the ratio of silent to replacement sites was detected by MK test in two comparisons, with Arabidopsis thaliana polymorphism due to excess silent divergence. Silent changes were predominant in the evolution of the Adh locus in Arabis and Arabidopsis. To infer evolutionary significance of silent substitutions, codon bias was studied. The degree of codon bias of the Adh region was relatively constant over Arabis and Arabidopsis species. "Preferred" codons of A. thaliana were determined. No evidence of natural selection on codon change was detected in the Adh regions of A. thaliana and Arabis gemmifera.