The Rho family of GTPases are in higher eukaryotes divided into 3 major subfamilies; the Rho, Rac and Cdc42 proteins. In plants, however, the Rho family is restricted to one large family of Rac-like proteins. From work with mammalian phagocytes the Rac proteins are known to activate a multicomponent NADPH-dependent oxidase which results in accumulation of H2O2, a process termed oxidative burst. In plants a similar oxidative burst is observed and plays and important role in its defence against pathogen infections, suggesting a similar role for the plant Rac-like proteins. The Rho family of GTPases proteins are also involved in control of cell morphology, and are also thought to mediate signals from cell membrane receptors. In a broad search for members of the Ras superfamily in plants, several new small GTP-binding proteins were found. We report here the identification and molecular cloning of 5 rac-like cDNAs from Arabidopsis thaliana, Arac1-5. The Rac-like proteins deduced from the cDNA sequences all share 80-95% homology, but show considerably more diversity on the nucleotide level, indicating that this is an ancient gene family. Four of the rac genes were found to be expressed in all tissues examined, but one gene, Arac2, was expressed exclusively in the root, hypocotyl and stem. Our results show that the rac gene family in A. thaliana consists of at least 10 different genes.