The greening phenotypes produced by recessive mutations in a gene designated de-etiolated-2 (DET2) are described. Recessive mutations in the DET2 gene uncouple light signals from a number of light-dependent processes. det2 mutations result in dark-grown Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings with many characteristics of light-grown plants, including hypocotyl growth inhibition, cotyledon expansion, primary leaf initiation, anthocyanin accumulation, and derepression of light-regulated gene expression. In contrast to these morphological and gene expression changes, however, the chloroplast development program is not initiated in the dark in det2 mutants, suggesting that light-regulated gene expression precedes the differentiation of etioplasts to chloroplasts. det2 mutations thus reveal at least two classes of downstream light-regulated responses that differ in their timing and control mechanisms. Homozygous det2 mutations also affect photoperiodic responses in light-grown plants, including timing of flowering, dark adaptation of gene expression, and onset of leaf senescence. The phenotype of det1 det2 double mutants is additive, implying that DET1 and DET2 function in distinct pathways that affect downstream light-regulated genes. Furthermore, these pathways are not utilized solely during early seedling development but must also be required to regulate different aspects of the light developmental program during later stages of vegetative growth.