Dark-grown pea seedlings (Pisum sativum L.) were irradiated for a short period each day with low intensity red light (662 nm), red light immediately followed by far red light (730 nm), or far red light alone. Other plants were transferred to a white light regime (14 hours light/10 hours dark). There was no change in the amount of RNA in the tissue on a fresh weight basis after the various treatments. However, compared with dark-grown seedlings, those plants irradiated with red light showed an increase in the net RNA content per stem apex. In addition there was a two- to three-fold increase in ribosomal RNA of the etioplasts relative to the total ribosomal RNA. These increases were comparable to those found in plants grown in the white light regime. The changes were much smaller if the dark-grown plants were irradiated either with red light followed by far red light, or with far red light alone. Thus continuous light is not essential for the production of ribosomal RNA in plastids, and the levels of ribosomal RNA found in chloroplasts can also be attained in etioplasts of pea leaves in the dark provided the leaf phytochrome is maintained in its active form.