Genetically defined strains of the yeast Hansenula polymorpha were constructed froth a clone of H. polymorpha CBS4732 with very low mating and sporulation abilities. Mating, spore viability, and the percentage of four-spore-containing asci were increased to a level at which tetrad analysis was possible. Auxotrophic mutations in 30 genes were isolated and used to construct strains with multiple markers for mapping studies, transformation with plasmid DNA, and mutant screening. Various other types of mutants were isolated and characterized, among them mutants that displayed an altered morphology, methanol-utilization deficient mutants and strains impaired in the biosynthesis of alcohol oxidase and catalase. Also, the mutability of H. polymorpha CBS4732 vs H. polymorpha NCYC495 was compared. The data revealed clear differences in frequencies of appearance and mutational spectra of some mutants isolated. Many of the mutants isolated had good mating abilities, and diploids resulting from their crossing displayed high sporulation frequencies and high spore viability. Most of the markers used revealed normal Mendelian segregation during meiosis. The frequency of tetratype spore formation was lower than in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggesting a lower frequency of recombination during the second meiotic division. The properties of genetically defined strains of H. polymorpha CBS4732 as well as their advantages for genetics and molecular studies are discussed.