We identified a mutation in Arabidopsis that resulted in defective embryos, and we designated this mutation globular arrest1 (gla1). The predicted amino acid sequence encoded by the GLA1 gene is homologous to the amino acid sequences of folylpolyglutamate synthetase (FPGS) and dihydrofolate synthetase (DHFS), which participate in folate biosynthesis. The defect of gla1 in the formation of calli was rescued by the supplement of 5-formyl tetrahydrofolate. These results indicated that GLA1 is involved in the biosynthesis of tetrahydrofolate. The gla1 embryos developed normally in the early stage of development but did not undergo the transition to the heart stage. Thus, the function of the GLA1 gene in embryogenesis appears to be required after the globular stage. However, when the levels of GLA1 transcripts in transgenic plants were increased by introduction of several copies of a GLA1 transgene (GLA6.8), the gla1 embryos that grew on gla1/gla1 GLA6.8/- plants developed as far as the heart to bent-cotyledon stage. This result suggests that the GLA1 function is provided to embryos by maternal tissues until embryos reach the globular stage.