Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL; EC 188.8.131.52) genomic sequences were isolated from bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) genomic libraries using elicitor-induced bean PAL cDNA sequences as a probe. Southern blot hybridization of genomic DNA fragments revealed three divergent classes of PAL genes in the bean genome. Polymorphic forms were observed within each class. The nucleotide sequences of two PAL genes, gPAL2 (class II) and gPAL3 (class III), were determined. gPAL2 contains an open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 712 amino acids, interrupted by a 1720 bp intron in the codon for amino acid 130. gPAL3 encodes a polypeptide of 710 amino acids showing 72% similarity with that encoded by gPAL2, and contains a 447 bp intron at the same location. At the nucleotide level, gPAL2 and gPAL3 show 59% sequence similarity in exon I, 74% similarity in exon II, and extensive sequence divergence in the intron, 5' and 3' flanking regions. S1 nuclease protection identified transcription start sites of gPAL2 and gPAL3 respectively 99 bp and 35 bp upstream from the initiation codon ATG, and showed that gPAL2 but not gPAL3 was activated by elicitor, whereas both were activated by wounding of hypocotyls. The 5' flanking region of both genes contain TATA and CAAT boxes, and sequences resembling the SV40 enhancer core. gPAL2 contains a 40 bp palindromic sequence and a 22 bp motif that are also found at similar positions relative to the TATA box in 5' flanking regions of other elicitor-induced bean genes.