Deficiens (defA+) is a homeotic gene involved in the genetic control of Antirrhinum majus flower development. Mutation of this gene (defA-1) causes homeotic transformation of petals into sepals and of stamina into carpels in flowers displaying the 'globifera' phenotype, as shown by cross sections and scanning electronmicroscopy of developing flowers. A cDNA derived from the wild type defA+ gene has been cloned by differential screening of a subtracted 'flower specific' cDNA library. The identity of this cDNA with the defA+ gene product has been confirmed by utilizing the somatic and germinal instability of defA-1 mutants. According to Northern blot analyses the defA+ gene is expressed in flowers but not in leaves, and its expression is nearly constant during all stages of flower development. The 1.1 kb long mRNA has a 681 bp long open reading frame that can code for a putative protein of 227 amino acids (mol. wt 26.2 kd). At its N-terminus the DEF A protein reveals homology to a conserved domain of the regulatory proteins SRF (activating c-fos) in mammals and GRM/PRTF (regulating mating type) in yeast. We discuss the structure and the possible function of the DEF A protein in the control of floral organogenesis.