Direct gene transfer has proved to be an efficient transformation method for Arabidopsis thaliana, a member of the Brassicaceae. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants resistant to hygromycin B have been regenerated from mesophyll protoplasts treated with polyethylene glycol and plasmid DNA carrying the hygromycin phosphotransferase (HPT) gene under the control of the 35 S promoter of cauliflower mosaic virus. The transformation procedure reproducibly yields transformants at frequencies of approximately 1 x 10(-4) (based on the number of protoplasts treated) or 5% (based on the number of regenerating calli). DNA from plants regenerated from hygromycin resistant colonies was analysed by Southern blot hybridization demonstrating that the foreign gene is stably integrated into the plant chromosome. Genetic analysis of several hygromycin resistant plants showed that the HPT gene is transmitted to the progeny. Transformation experiments performed with a selectable and a non-selectable gene on separate plasmids resulted in a co-transformation rate of functionally active copies in about 25% of the transformants analysed. Hence this approach can be used to introduce non-selectable genes into the Arabidopsis genome.