Bs1, a transposable element that moved into the maize Adh1 gene following barley stripe mosaic virus infection, is shown to be present in 1-5 copies in all maize and teosinte lines tested. Bs1 sequences do not hybridize with the genome of barley stripe mosaic virus. The insertion of Bs1 is bounded by 304-bp perfect direct repeats, similar in structure to Ty1 in yeast, copia and related elements in Drosophila, and vertebrate pro-retroviruses, but different from all other known plant transposons. No free copies of the terminal sequences or large internal deletions of Bs elements could be detected. Bs1 is apparently not related to several transposons which moved into the Shrunken gene in lines made genetically unstable by barley stripe mosaic virus infection, suggesting that this virus may cause genome shock, resulting in a generalized liberation of transposons in response to environmental stress.