We have identified a mutation at the DAG locus of Antirrhinum majus which blocks the development of chloroplasts to give white leaves with green revertant sectors. The green areas contain normal chloroplasts whereas the white areas have small plastids that resemble proplastids. The cotyledons of dark-grown dag mutant seedlings have plastids which also resemble proplastids. The palisade cells in the white areas of dag mutant leaves also lack their characteristic columnar shape. The DAG locus was cloned by transposon tagging: DAG encodes a novel protein with a predicted Mr of 26k, which is targeted to the plastids. Cleavage of its predicted transit peptide gives a mature protein of Mr 20k. Screening of databases and analysis of Southern blots gave evidence that DAG belongs to a protein family with homology to several proteins of unknown function from plants. Expression of DAG is required for expression of nuclear genes affecting the chloroplasts, such as CAB and RBCS, and also for expression of the plastidial gene RPOB encoding the plastidial RNA polymerase beta subunit, indicating that it functions very early in chloroplast development.