Rice (Oryza sativa var. Cigalon) is a plant which can adapt to very stringent anoxic conditions. It has previously been shown that during the adaptation period the energy charge can be used as a marker for metabolic activity. We have studied RNA metabolism during this period and correlated it with changes in the energy charge. Uptake of labeled precursor, UTP-specific activity, and incorporation were measured. Immediately after transfer to anaerobic conditions, the UTP pool size is reduced and the overall rate of incorporation drops. During adaptation, the rate of incorporation increases and stabilizes at about half of its value in aerobic conditions. Analysis of RNA shows that rRNA and mRNA are synthesized and that the processing of ribosomal RNA precursor is altered. Polyribosomes are present throughout the adaptation period although their amount is reduced during the first hour of anoxia. Changes in poly(A) content were noticed, indicating that some mRNA are rapidly degraded. Taken together, the results show that the RNA metabolism can be modulated during adaptation to anoxia in a parallel manner with energy charge changes.