We have demonstrated that a yeast FLP/FRT site-specific recombination system functions in maize and rice protoplasts. FLP recombinase activity was monitored by reactivation of beta-glucuronidase (GUS) expression from vectors containing the gusA gene inactivated by insertion of two FRTs (FLP recombination targets) and a 1.31 kb DNA fragment. The stimulation of GUS activity in protoplasts cotransformed with vectors containing FRT inactivated gusA gene and a chimeric FLP gene depended on both the expression of the FLP recombinase and the presence and structure of the FRT sites. The FLP enzyme could mediate inter- and intramolecular recombination in plant protoplasts. These results provide evidence that a yeast recombination system can function efficiently in plant cells, and that its performance can be manipulated by structural modification of the FRT sites.