A transferred DNA (T-DNA) tagging vector with the potential to produce dominant mutations was used with cocultured Agrobacterium tumefaciens and protoplasts to tag genes involved in the action of the plant growth substance auxin. Transgenic calli were selected for their ability to grow in the absence of auxin in the culture media. From one experiment, 12 calli that displayed this phenotype were recovered, of which 11 were able to regenerate into plants. In one plant studied in detail, protoplast division in the absence of auxin genetically cosegregated with a single T-DNA insert. A messenger RNA encoded by a 6.4-kilobase sequence of plant genomic DNA rescued from the mutant is overexpressed relative to untransformed plants. The genomic DNA, as well as a cognate complementary DNA, once transfected into protoplasts promote growth and cell division in vitro in the absence of exogenously added auxin.