Cytokinins have profound effects on seedling development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Benzyladenine (BA) inhibits root elongation in light- or dark-grown seedlings, and in dark-grown seedlings BA inhibits hypocotyl elongation and exaggerates the curvature of apical hooks. The latter are characteristic ethylene responses and, therefore, the possible involvement of ethylene in BA responses was examined in seedlings. It was found that the inhibitory effects of BA on root and hypocotyl elongation were partially blocked by the action of ethylene inhibitors or ethylene-resistant mutations (ein1-1 and ein2-1). Ethylene production was stimulated by submicromolar concentrations of BA and could account, in part, for the inhibition of root and hypocotyl elongation. It was demonstrated further that BA did not affect the sensitivity of seedlings to ethylene. Thus, the effect of cytokinin on root and hypocotyl elongation in Arabidopsis appears to be mediated largely by the production of ethylene. The coupling between cytokinin and ethylene responses is further supported by the discovery that the cytokinin-resistant mutant ckr1 is resistant to ethylene and is allelic to the ethylene-resistant mutant ein2.