The labile precursors of ribosomal RNA in mouse kidney are preserved when nuclei rapidly isolated after sieving through multiple screens are swollen and cleansed in the presence of an RNase inhibitor before digestion with DNase and phenol extraction. The kinetics of nucleolar labeling analyzed on polyacrylamide gels show that 36S RNA is the major intermediate product in the catabolism of the original 45S RNA precursor to 32S RNA, from which 28S RNA is derived. Each kidney nucleus contains about 200–600 molecules of 45S RNA; the turnover time of the 45S pool is about 3 ± 2 min. Compared with HeLa cells, kidney nuclei have a different major intermediate product and a much smaller and more rapidly turning-over pool of ribosomal precursor RNA.