Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that is a member of the family cruciferae. It has many characteristics--diploid genetics, rapid growth cycle, relatively low repetitive DNA content, and small genome size--that recommend it as the model for a plant genome project. The current status of the genetic and physical maps, as well as efforts to sequence the genome, are presented. Examples are given of genes isolated by using map-based cloning. The importance of the Arabidopsis project for plant biology in general is discussed.