A versatile gene expression cartridge and binary vector system was constructed for use in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. The expression cartridge of the primary cloning vector, pART7, comprises of cauliflower mosaic virus Cabb B-JI isolate 35S promoter, a multiple cloning site and the transcriptional termination region of the octopine synthase gene. The entire cartridge can be removed from pART7 as a Not I fragment and introduced directly into the binary vector, pART27, recombinants being selected by blue/white screening for beta-galactosidase. pART27 carries the RK2 minimal replicon for maintenance in Agrobacterium, the ColE1 origin of replication for high-copy maintenance in Escherichia coli and the Tn7 spectinomycin/streptomycin resistance gene as a bacterial selectable marker. The organisational structure of the T-DNA of pART27 has been constructed taking into account the right to left border, 5' to 3' model of T-DNA transfer. The T-DNA carries the chimaeric kanamycin resistance gene (nopaline synthase promoter-neomycin phosphotransferase-nopaline synthase terminator) distal to the right border relative to the lacZ' region. Utilisation of these vectors in Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of tobacco demonstrated efficient T-DNA transfer to the plant genome.