During the summer of 1974 we discussed the state of molecular biology and biochemical developmental biology in plants on a few occasions in Paris and in Strasbourg. The number of laboratories engaged in such research is minute compared with those studying comparable problems in animal and bacterial systems, but by then much interesting work had been done and a great momentum was building. It seemed to us that the summer of 1976 would be a good time to review these areas of plant biology for students as well as advanced workers. We outlined a program for a course to colleagues both in Europe and the United States and asked a few potential lecturers if they would be interested. The response was not just positive; it was overwhelm ingly enthusiastic. Those who had some acquaintance with Alsace, and especially with Strasbourg, invariably told us that they had two reasons for being enthusiastic about participating - the subject and the proposed site. The lectures published here* reflect the diversity of current research in plant molecular biology and biochemical developmental biology. Each lecture gives us a glimpse of the depth of questions being asked, and sometimes answered, in segments of this field of investigation. This research is directed at fundamental biological problems, but answers to these questions will provide knowledge essential for bringing about major changes in the way the world's agricultural enterprise can be improved.