Nucleotide excision repair (NER), a highly versatile DNA repair mechanism, is capable of removing various types of DNA damage including those induced by UV radiation and chemical mutagens. NER has been well characterized in yeast and mammalian systems but its presence in plants has not been reported. Here it is reported that a plant gene isolated from male germline cells of lily (Lilium longiflorum) shows a striking amino acid sequence similarity to the DNA excision repair proteins human ERCC1 and yeast RAD10. Homologous genes are also shown to be present in a number of taxonomically diverse plant genera tested, suggesting that this gene may have a conserved function in plants. The protein encoded by this gene is able to correct significantly the sensitivity to the cross-linking agent mitomycin C in ERCC1-deficient Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. These findings suggest that the NER mechanism is conserved in yeast, animals and higher plants.