Plastids at different stages of development were isolated from light-grown wheat (Triticum aestivum, var. Maris Dove) seedling leaves, and the average chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) per plastid at each developmental stage was measured directly. In the earliest stages of development, the number of plastids per cell and the amount of cpDNA per cell increased with cell age, but cpDNA per plastid remained constant at between 800 and 1,000 genome copies per plastid. After this phase, plastids per cell continued to increase, but cpDNA per plastid decreased. Subsequently, both plastids per cell and cpDNA per plastid remained constant as cell age increased, the final DNA content being approximately 300 genome copies per plastid. These results are related to previous reports of cpDNA changes during the development of dicotyledonous plants, and to theories about the regulation of chloroplast numbers per cell.