Agrobacterium tumefaciens is the causative agent of crown gall, a disease of dicotyledonous plants characterized by a tumorous phenotype. Earlier in this century, scientific interest in A. tumefaciens was based on the possibility that the study of plant tumors might reveal mechanisms that were also operating in animal neoplasia. In the recent past, the tumorous growth was shown to result from the expression of genes coded for by a DNA segment of bacterial origin that was transferred and became stably integrated into the plant genome. This initial molecular characterization of the infection process suggested that Agrobacterium might be used to deliver genetic material into plants. The potential to genetically engineer plants generated renewed interest in the study of A. tumefaciens. In this review, we concentrate on the most recent advances in the study of Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer, its relationship to conjugation, DNA processing and transport, and nuclear targeting. In the following discussion, references for earlier work can be found in more comprehensive reviews (Hooykaas and Schilperoort, 1992; Zambryski, 1992; Hooykaas and Beijersbergen, 1994).