The will die slowly (wds) gene coding for a WD-repeat protein with seven repeats has been characterized in Drosophila melanogaster. In this paper, the wds gene was isolated and characterized from the Chinese oak silkworm, Antheraea pernyi (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae). The obtained 1733 bp cDNA sequence contains an open reading frame of 1041 bp encoding a polypeptide of 346 amino acids, with 85% sequence identity to that from D. melanogaster. RT-PCR analysis showed that the wds gene was transcribed during four developmental stages and in all the tissues tested, consistent with the result observed in Bombyx mori based on EST resources and genome-wide microarray information. The mRNA expression level of the A. pernyi wds gene was not significantly down- or up- regulated under temperature stress compared to the control, indicating that it may be not involved in temperature stress tolerance. In search of database, the wds protein homologues were found in various kinds of eukaryotes, including fungi, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, with 50–93% amino acid sequence identities between them, suggesting that they are highly conserved during the evolution of eukaryotes. Phylogenetic analysis based on the wds protein homologue sequences clearly separated the known fungi, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, consistent with the topology tree on the classical systematics, suggesting the potential value of wds protein in eukaryotic phylogenetic inference. In vertebrates, two apparent types of the wds proteins were also defined by sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis.