The fruit canning industry processes large quantities of the clingstone varieties of peach (Prunus persica L. Batch). The occurrence of split-pit formation--the opening of the pit and sometimes splitting of the fruit--causes deterioration of canned fruit quality. The frequency of split-pit formation is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. To increase understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying split-pit formation in peach, we cloned and characterized the PPERFUL and PPERSHP genes that are homologues to the genes FRUITFULL and SHATTERPROOF, respectively, which are involved in fruit splitting (pod shattering) in Arabidopsis thaliana. The deduced amino acid sequences of the two genes had high homology with members of the MADS-box family of transcription factors, and particularly with other members of the FUL-like family of A-type MADS-box proteins and PLENA-like family of C-type MADS-box proteins, respectively. PPERFUL and PPERSHP were expressed throughout fruit development from full anthesis until fruit harvest. Differences in the mRNA abundance of each gene were compared in a split-pit sensitive and a split-pit resistant variety. Results suggested that temporal regulation of PPERFUL and PPERSHP expression may have an effect on the split-pit process.