A Giardia lamblia gene, Glacs, was cloned, sequenced and expressed in Escheria Coli. This gene codes for a 726 residue long acetyl-CoA synthetase (ADP-forming). This enzyme is responsible for the formation of acetate, a metabolic endproduct of G. lamblia. It is known from only two Type I amitochondriate eukaryotes, G. lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica and from the archaebacterium, Pyrococcus furiosus. With Glacs as query, homologous unidentified open reading frames were detected in the complete genomes of only a few archaebacteria and eubacteria. These form a new protein family present in all three domains of life, which probably plays a central role in the acyl-CoA metabolism but is of restricted taxonomic distribution.