More than 200 fusca mutants of Arabidopsis have been isolated and characterised, defining 14 complementation groups. Mutations in at least nine FUSCA genes cause light-dependent phenotypic changes in the absence of light: high levels of anthocyanin accumulation in both the embryo and the seedling, inhibition of hypocotyl elongation, apical hook opening, and unfolding of cotyledons. In double mutants, the fusca phenotype is epistatic to the hy phytochrome-deficiency phenotype, indicating that the FUSCA genes act downstream of phytochrome. By contrast, the accumulation of anthocyanin is suppressed by mutations in TT and TTG genes, which affect the biosynthesis of anthocyanin, placing the FUSCA genes upstream of those genes. Regardless of the presence or absence of anthocyanin, fusca mutations limit cell expansion and cause seedling lethality. In somatic sectors, mutant fus1 cells are viable, expressing tissue-specific phenotypes: reduced cell expansion and accumulation of anthocyanin in subepidermal tissue, formation of ectopic trichomes but no reduced cell expansion in epidermal tissue. Our results suggest a model of FUSCA gene action in light-induced signal transduction.