The cyclic hydroxamic acids, 2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIBOA) and 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA), are defensive secondary metabolites found in gramineous plants including wheat, maize and rye. cDNAs for five cytochromes P450 (P450s) involved in DIBOA biosynthesis (CYP71C6, CYP71C7v2, CYP71C8v2, CYP71C9v1 and CYP71C9v2) were isolated from seedlings of hexaploid wheat [( Triticum aestivum L. cv. Chinese Spring (2n=6x=42, genomes AABBDD)] by RT-PCR and screening of a cDNA library. CYP71C9v1 and CYP71C9v2 are 97% identical to each other in amino acid and nucleotide sequences. The cloned P450 species showed 76-79% identity at the amino acid level to the corresponding maize P450 species CYP71C1-C4, which are also required for DIBOA biosynthesis. The wheat P450 cDNAs were heterologously expressed in the yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae) strain AH22. Microsome fractions from yeast cells expressing these P450 species catalyzed the same reactions as their maize orthologs. The chromosomes carrying the cyp71C6- C9v1 orthologs were identified by Southern hybridization using aneuploid lines of Chinese Spring wheat. The cyp71C9v1 orthologs were located on the chromosomes of wheat homoeologous group-4. The orthologs of the other P450 genes, cyp71C7v2, cyp71C6 and cyp71C8v2, were located on group-5 chromosomes. The same P450 genes were also present in the three ancestral diploid species of hexaploid wheat, T. monococcum (AA), Aegilops speltoides [BB (approximately SS)] and Ae. squarrosa (DD).