A novel alternative oxidase (AOX) gene derived from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), designated as GhAOX1, was cloned with RACE-PCR. The full-length cDNA of GhAOX1was 1,298 bp in size, containing a 996 bp open reading frame (ORF) which corresponds to a precursor protein of 332 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 37.5 kDa. The predicted amino acid sequence exhibited 68.4%, 68.1%, 59.4%, and 69.8% homology to the alternative oxidases of Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana tabacum, Solanum tuberosum and Glycine max, respectively. Interestingly, striking similarity in several coding regions, such as metal binding and hydrophobic α-helix regions was seen between GhAOX1 and other AOX1 proteins. Analysis of the exon/intron structure of the GhAOX1 gene showed that GhAOX1 consisted of four exons and three introns. Southern analysis indicated that the GhAOX1 was a single copy gene belonging to a multi-gene family. Expression analysis by Northern blot revealed that the GhAOX1 exhibited preferential expression in tissues, with the higher expression being found in cotyledons and petals. GhAOX1 was also found to be induced by a variety of stresses stimulation including cold, citrate, SA, KCN and antimycin A in cotton.