A cDNA clone encoding the gamma-zein protein of maize was expressed in developing grain of barley using the starchy endosperm cell-specific promoter from the wheat Glu-1D-1 (HMW subunit 1Dx5) gene. Seven transgenic lines were recovered from 226 bombarded immature embryos, of which two were sterile and four tetraploid, while five were shown to express the gamma-zein protein based on western blotting. Southern blot analysis showed the presence of between about three and twelve transgene insertions. Detailed comparative studies of five null and five homozygous transformed sub-lines from transgenic line A showed that gamma-zein accounted for over 4% of the total prolamin fraction, corresponding to about 1.9% of the total grain N. Comparison of the proteins present in the gel protein fraction demonstrated that the gamma-zein was incorporated into polymers, as in maize. However, there was no effect on grain hardness measured using the Perten Single Kernel Characterisation System or on the vitreousness measured by visual inspection. This contrasts with the situation in maize where a clear association with vitreousness has been reported.