Mutations at the Adh1 locus in maize were selected from plants infected with barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV). Pollen from the infected inbred line 1s2p, which is homozygous for Adh1-S (abbreviated S), Adh2-P, c and r was treated with allyl alcohol and applied to silks of a tester stock homozygous for Adh1-F, Adh2-N, C and R. From these pollinations 356 kernels arose on the F1 ears. Of these eight showed no activity of the S allele in scutellar samples while two exhibited low levels. Five of the putative mutant kernels germinated and two of these contained the contamination markers Adh2-P, c and r. The newly arisen mutations were designated S5446 and S5453. S5453 exhibited an abnormally low level of ADH activity in the F1 scutellum. In the F2 generation the mutant reverted at a high frequency with only about 5% of the S5453 alleles expressing low levels. DNA blotting and hybridization analyses showed no alterations in the restriction patterns of S5453 when compared to the progenitor S allele. S5446 which exhibited no ADH activity in the F1 scutellum is unstable in the pollen; reversion frequencies approaching 10(-2) were observed in samples from some plants. Restriction digestion patterns of DNA from this mutant revealed the presence of a 3.3 kb insertion at Adh. The insert does not appear to contain sequences homologous to the BSMV genome but rigorous analyses remain to be carried out. It is hypothesized that BSMV infection may mobilize endogenous but dormant transposable elements in maize.