We describe a gene, SCB1 (Seed Coat BURP-domain protein 1), that is expressed specifically within the soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merrill) seed coat early in its development. Northern blot analysis and mRNA in situ hybridization revealed novel patterns of gene expression during seed development. SCB1 mRNA accumulated first within the developing thick-walled parenchyma cells of the inner integument and later in the thick- and thin-walled parenchyma cells of the outer integument. This occurred prior to the period of seed coat maturation and seed filling and before either of the layers started to degrade. SCB1 may therefore play a role in the differentiation of the seed coat parenchyma cells. In addition, the protein product appears to be located within cell walls. The SCB1 gene codes for a new member of a class of modular proteins that possess a carboxy-terminal BURP domain and a variety of different repeated sequences. The sequence of the genomic clone revealed the insertion of a Tgm transposable element in the upstream promoter region but it is not certain whether it contributes to the tissue-specific pattern of SCB1 expression.