GT factors are the founding members of the trihelix transcription factor family. They bind GT elements in light regulated genes, and their nature was uncovered in a burst of activity in the 1990s. Study of the trihelix family then slowed. However, interest is now re-awakening. Genomic studies have revealed 30 members of this family in Arabidopsis and 31 in rice, falling into five clades. Newly discovered functions involve responses to salt and pathogen stresses, the development of perianth organs, trichomes, stomata and the seed abscission layer, and the regulation of late embryogenesis. Thus the time is ripe for a review of the genomic and functional information now emerging for this neglected family. Copyright A 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.