Activation T-DNA tagging has been used to generate a variety of tobacco cell lines selected by their ability to grow either in the absence of auxin or cytokinin in the culture media, or under selective levels of an inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis. The majority of the cell lines studied in detail contain single T-DNA inserts genetically co-segregating with the selected phenotype. While most of the plants regenerated from the mutant cell lines appear phenotypically normal, several display phenotypes which could be inferred to result from disturbances in the content, or the metabolism, of auxins and cytokinins, or polyamines. The tagging vector is designed to allow the isolation of tagged plant genes by plasmid rescue. Confirmation that the genomic sequence responsible for the selected phenotype has indeed been isolated is provided by PEG-mediated protoplast DNA uptake of rescued plasmids followed by selection for protoplast growth under the original selective conditions. Several plasmids have been rescued from the mutant lines which confer on transfected protoplasts the ability to grow either in the absence of auxin or cytokinin in the culture media, or under selective levels of an inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis. This review describes the background to activation tagging and our progress in characterizing the genes that have been tagged in the mutant lines we have generated.