In animals, the small GTP-binding proteins, Rac and Rho, of the ras superfamily participate in the signal transduction pathway that regulates the organization of the actin cytoskeleton. We report here on the characterization of two distinct cDNA clones isolated from a cotton fiber cDNA library that code for homologs of animal Rac proteins. Using gene-specific probes, we have determined that amphidiploid cotton contains two genes that code for each of the two Rac proteins, designated Rac13 and Rac9, respectively. The gene for Rac13 shows highly enhanced expression in developing cotton fibers, with maximal expression occurring at the time of transition between primary and secondary wall synthesis. This is also the time at which reorganization of the cytoskeleton occurs, and thus the pattern of expression of Rac13 is consistent with its possible role, analogous to animal Rac, in the signal transduction pathway that controls cytoskeletal organization.