In barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Herta), slender (sln1) is a single-locus recessive mutation which causes a plant to appear as if it had been grown in sturating concentrations of gibberellin (GA). We have investigated two of the GA-mediated processes in slender barley, shoot elongation and the induction of hydrolytic enzymes in aleurone layers. Shoot elongation is severely retarded in normal (wild-type) barley if the biosynthesis of GA is blocked by an inhibitor, ancymidol (α-cyclopropyl-α-(p-methoxyphenyl)-5-pyrimidinemethanol). However, the slender mutant continues to elongate in the presence of ancymidol. In isolated normal aleurone layers, the synthesis and secretion of α-amylase (EC 220.127.116.11), protease (EC 3.4) and nuclease (EC 18.104.22.168) are induced by exogenously applied GA3. However, in the aleurone layers of the slender mutant these enzymes are produced even in the absence of GA but their synthesis is still susceptible to inhibition by abscisic acid. Bioassays of half-seeds of the slender mutant and their normal siblings show no detectable differences in endogenous levels of GA-like substances. We suggest that the slender mutation allows competent tissues to express fully, or over-express, appropriate GA-induced processes independent of GA. We also conclude that shoot elongation, and hydrolytic-enzyme secretion in aleurone layers, share a common regulatory element.