Genomic DNA fragments from Triticum tauschii (D-genome donor to wheat) carrying starch branching enzyme I (SBE I) type genes have been characterized. One fragment contains one complete gene and two partial genes in 16 kb of DNA. One of the partial genes is oriented in the opposite strand to the other two. The gene that is complete was sequenced. Its structure corresponds closely to that of rice in that exons 3-8 are retained at similar sizes and spacings. A cDNA closely corresponding to the complete gene was isolated and characterized; it codes for a putative protein that represents a novel type of SBE I, as it is shorter at the 3' end than the forms reported so far in other plants. A second genomic fragment contains a different SBE I gene. There appear to be approximately 10 copies of SBE I type genes in wheat (approximately 5 in T. tauschii) and most of them have been assigned to group 7 chromosomes. In situ hybridization indicates that a major locus for the genes is located at the distal end of the short arm of chromosome 7D.