The study and development of transformation technology with new selection schemes is important for various fundamental studies and for crop trait improvement via genetic engineering. Here we have shown that hygromycin resistance is an effective system for plum genetic transformation. Embryonic axes of mature seeds were co-cultivated with Agrobacterium strain LBA4404 containing the pC1381 plasmid carrying the hygromycin phosphotranferase gene (hpt) and beta-glucuronidase (GUS) gene or with strain EHA105 containing the plasmid pC1301 carrying the same marker and reporter genes. The latter strain containing a pC2301 plasmid carrying the neomycin phosphotransferase gene (nptII) gene was used as a control. Infected explants were placed on shoot induction medium containing either 5 mg L(-1) hygromycin or 75 mg L(-1) kanamycin for selection. Green shoots developed from the explants under hygromycin pressure. These shoots showed continued and vigorous growth and development upon transfer onto fresh hygromycin medium. PCR using hpt sequence primers, and Southern blot analysis using a probe from the hpt gene, confirmed the presence of the transgenes and their stable integration in regenerated plants. Full transgenic plants were obtained in a greenhouse. Hygromycin selection was very effective and no escapes were observed. The study demonstrated that hygromycin resistance can be used as an effective selectable marker for plum transformation. The new system developed here is important and useful for multiple gene transformation in plum. (c) 2008 Published by Elsevier B.V.