The Li locus in white clover controls the presence of cyanogenic beta-glucosidase (linamarase) activity in leaf tissue, such that plants homozygous for the 'null' allele (li) have no linamarase activity in this tissue. The isolation of a cDNA clone from linamarase mRNA is described. The cDNA clone is used to further characterise alleles of the Li locus. Northern blot analysis shows that plants homozygous for the 'null' allele (li li) produce very reduced levels of mRNA which hybridises to the cDNA. Heterozygous plants (Li li), which have intermediate levels of enzyme activity, produce intermediate levels of mRNA. Southern blot analysis of Hind III digested genomic DNA shows that the white clover genome contains three genes with homology to the linamarase cDNA and that at least two of these genes segregate independently. Analysis of the cosegregation of linamarase activity and the presence of genomic restriction fragments identifies the genomic sequence specifying linamarase structure and indicates either a structural or cis acting control function of the Li locus.