We have developed a transiently disrupted nkuA system in Aspergillus nidulans for efficient gene targeting. The nkuA disruption was made by inserting a counter-selectable marker flanked by a direct repeat (DR) composed of nkuA sequences. In the disrupted state, the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) activity is abolished and gene targeting can be performed with success rates identical to those obtained with permanent nkuA knock-out strains. When gene targeting is complete, the functional nkuA allele can be re-established via a simple selection step, thereby eliminating the risk that defective NHEJ influences subsequent analyses of the manipulated strain. Our system will facilitate construction of large numbers of defined mutations in A. nidulans. Moreover, as the system can likely be adapted to other filamentous fungi, we expect it will be particularly beneficial in species where NHEJ cannot be restored by sexual crossing. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.