The present status of plant cytochrome P450 research is reviewed. A comparison of the properties of this group of cytochrome proteins with those of other microsomal b-type haem proteins is made. The range of reactions catalysed by P450s is discussed as well as recent progress in improving purification and reconstitution. Molecular cloning approaches that have overcome the earlier block to accessing this gene superfamily are discussed and future prospects highlighted. Expression of the gene family is discussed in relation to regulation in response to environmental and developmental cues and tissue and subcellular localization. The biotechnological importance of this gene family is stressed.