The initiation and development of wrinkles in a single layer graphene sheet subjected to in-plane shear displacements are investigated. The dependence of the wavelength and amplitude of wrinkles on the applied shear displacements is explicitly obtained with molecular mechanics simulations. A continuum model is developed for the characteristics of the wrinkles which show that the wrinkle wavelength decreases with an increase in shear loading, while the amplitude of the wrinkles is found to initially increase and then become stable. The propagation and growth process of the wrinkles in the sheet is elucidated. It is expected that the research could promote applications of graphenes in the transportation of biological systems, separation science, and the development of the fluidic electronics. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.