The bacterial gene aadA encodes the enzyme aminoglycoside-3"-adenyltransferase that confers resistance to spectinomycin and streptomycin in Escherichia coli. Chimeric genes have been constructed for expression in plants, and were introduced into Nicotiana tabacum by Agrobacterium binary transformation vectors. Spectinomycin or streptomycin in selective concentrations prevent greening of N. tabacum calli. Transgenic clones, however, formed green calli on selective media containing spectinomycin, streptomycin, or both drugs. Resistance was inherited as a dominant Mendelian trait in the seed progeny. Resistance conferred by the chimeric aadA gene can be used as a color marker similar to the resistance conferred by the streptomycin phosphotransferase gene to streptomycin.