A cDNA library produced from mRNA isolated from the pericarp of wild-type tomato fruit (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv Ailsa Craig) at the first visible sign of fruit ripening was differentially screened to identify clones whose homologous mRNAs were present at reduced levels in fruit of the tomato ripening mutant, ripening inhibitor,rin. Five clones were isolated (pERT 1, 10, 13, 14, 15). Accumulation of mRNA homologous to each of these clones increased during the ripening of wild-type fruit and showed reduced accumulation in ripening rin fruit. The levels of three of them (homologous to ERT 1, 13 and 14) were increased by ethylene treatment of the mutant fruit. A further clone, ERT 16 was identified for a mRNA present at a high level in both normal and mutant fruit at early stages of ripening. Database searches revealed no significant homology to the DNA sequence of ERT 14 and 15; however, DNA and derived amino acid sequence of ERT 1 both contain regions of homology with several reported UDP-glucosyl and glucuronosyl transferases (UDPGT) and with a conserved UDPGT motif. A derived amino acid sequence from the ERT 10 cDNA contains a perfect match to a consensus sequence present in a number of dehydrogenases. The ERT 13 DNA sequence has homology with an mRNA present during potato tuberisation. The presence of these mRNAs in tomato fruit is unreported and their role in ripening is unknown. The ERT 16 DNA sequence has homology with a ripening/stress-related cDNA isolated from tomato fruit pericarp.