We have previously shown that the tandemly duplicated 27 kDa maize storage protein locus underwent mitotic rearrangement to yield a single-copy allele in isolates of the inbred line A188. This rearrangement contains a new LTR retrotransposon, designated Zeon-1. This middle repetitive element of 7313 bp had two long terminal repeats, a primer binding site, a polypurine tract and a gag-related open reading frame of 375 amino acids. Transcripts of the gag-related region were detected by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in certain maize tissues, and Western blots detected the gag-related protein in the same tissues. Moreover, the product of this mitotic rearrangement was shown to contain the same insertion site and 3' LTR as Zeon-1, suggesting that this rearrangement occurs with unusual precision. Zeon elements were found to be present in teosinte and not present in the Gramineae wheat, barley, sorghum and rye.