Leaf width is an important agricultural trait in rice. QTL mapping in a recombinant inbred line population derived from the cross between the javanica cultivar D50 (narrow-leaved) and the indica cultivar HB277 (wide-leaved) identified five QTLs controlling flag leaf width. Fine mapping of the major QTL qFLW4 narrowed its location to a 74.8 kb interval between the SSR loci RM17483 and RM17486, a region which also contains the gene NAL1 (Narrow leaf 1). There was no difference in the level of NAL1 expression between cvs. D50 and HB277, but an analysis of the NAL1 transcripts showed that while most (if not all) of those produced in cv. D50 were full-length, two-thirds of those in HB277 were non-functional due to either loss or gain of sequence. The inference was that NAL1 is probably synonymous with qFLW4, and that the functional difference between the two alleles was due to alternative splicing. The analysis of expression of other known genes involved in the determination of leaf width provided no evidence of their having any clear functional association with qFLW4/NAL1.