The Cytochrome b (Cyt b) gene has proved to be useful for identification and classification of many mammals and plants. In order to evaluate the utility of this gene for discrimination of Leishmania parasites as well as for exploring their phylogenetic relationships, we determined the nucleotide sequences of the Cyt b gene from 13 human-infecting Leishmania species (14 strains) from the New and Old Worlds. The Cyt b genes, approximately 1080 base pairs, were found to be A/T rich, and their 5′ terminal-editing regions were highly conserved. The nucleotide sequence variation among them was enough to discriminate parasite species; 245 nucleotide positions were polymorphic and 190 positions were parsimony informative. The phylogenetic relationships based on this gene, showed good agreement with the classification of Lainson & Shaw (1987) except for the inclusion of L. (L.) major in the L. (L.) tropica complex and the placement of L. tarentolae in another genus. These data show that the Cyt b gene is useful for phylogenetic study of Leishmania parasites.