Abstract A cDNA library was constructed from developing fruit of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) fruit at two days after pollination. Differential screening for pollination-induced genes resulted in the isolation of MdDAD1, an apple homologue of genes for DAD1 (defender against cell death 1). Southern hybridisation suggests that apple contains at least two DAD1 homologues. In mammals and Caenorhabditiselegans, DAD1 functions to protect cells against programmed cell death (PCD) (apoptosis). In apple we show that MdDAD1 transcript levels vary between tissues, and are induced during senescence of leaves, petals, and fruit, and also by flower pollination. In situ hybridisation showed that MdDAD1 mRNA was distributed primarily in the cells of vascular bundles. These results contrast with a constitutive pattern of expression reported for DAD1 in mammalian cells.