This paper reports the characterization of the low-molecular-weight (LMW) glutenin gene family of Aegilops tauschii (syn. Triticum tauschii), the D-genome donor of hexaploid wheat. By analysis of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones positive for hybridization with an LMW glutenin probe, seven unique LMW glutenin genes were identified. These genes were sequenced, including their untranslated 3" and 5" flanking regions. The deduced amino acid sequences of the genes revealed four putative active genes and three pseudogenes. All these genes had a very high level of similarity to LMW glutenins characterized in hexaploid wheat. The predicted molecular weights of the mature proteins were between 32.2 kDa and 39.6 kDa, and the predicted isoelectric points of the proteins were between 7.53 and 8.06. All the deduced proteins were of the LMW-m type. The organization of the seven LMW glutenin genes appears to be interspersed over at least several hundred kilo base pairs, as indicated by the presence of only one gene or pseudogene per BAC clone. Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA of Ae. tauschii and the BAC clones containing the seven LMW glutenin genes indicated that the BAC clones contained all LMW glutenin-hybridizing bands present in the genome. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of an LMW glutenin extract from Ae. tauschii was conducted and showed the presence of at least 11 distinct proteins. Further analysis indicated that some of the observed proteins were modified gliadins. These results suggest that the actual number of typical LMW glutenins may in fact be much lower than previously thought, with a number of modified gliadins also being present in the polymeric fraction.