A new reverse genetics method has been developed to identify and isolate deletion mutants for targeted plant genes. Deletion mutant libraries are generated using fast neutron bombardment. DNA samples extracted from the deletion libraries are used to screen for deletion mutants by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using specific primers flanking the targeted genes. By adjusting PCR conditions to preferentially amplify the deletion alleles, deletion mutants were identified in pools of DNA samples, each pool containing DNA from 2592 mutant lines. Deletion mutants were obtained for 84% of targeted loci from an Arabidopsis population of 51 840 lines. Using a similar approach, a deletion mutant for a rice gene was identified. Thus we demonstrate that it is possible to apply this method to plant species other than Arabidopsis. As fast neutron mutagenesis is highly efficient, it is practical to develop deletion mutant populations with more complete coverage of the genome than obtained with methods based on insertional mutagenesis. Because fast neutron mutagenesis is applicable to all plant genetic systems, this method has the potential to enable reverse genetics for a wide range of plant species.