The tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid of the soil microorganism Agrobacterium tumefaciens is the agent of crown gall disease in dicotyledonous plants. The Ti plasmid contains two regions that are essential for the production of transformed cells. One of these regions, termed transfer DNA, induces tumor formation and is found in all established plant tumor lines; the other, termed the virulence region, is essential for the formation but not the maintenance of tumors. Transfer DNA, which transfers to the plant genomes in a somewhat predictable manner, can be increased in size by the insertion of foreign DNA without its transferring ability being affected. The tumor-causing genes can be removed so that they no longer interfere with normal plant growth and differentiation. This modified Ti plasmid can thus be used as a vector for the transfer of foreign genes into plants.