A map-based cloning technique for crop plants is being developed using tomato as a model system. The target gene jointless is a recessive mutation that completely suppresses the formation of flower and fruit pedicel abscission zones. Previously, the jointless locus was mapped to a 3 cM interval between the two molecular markers TG523 and RPD158. Physical mapping of the jointless region by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis demonstrated that TG523 and RPD158 reside on a 600 kb SmaI fragment. In this study, TG523 was used as a probe to screen a tomato yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) library. Six tomato YAC (TY) clones were isolated, ranging from 220 to 380 kb in size. Genetic mapping of YAC ends demonstrated that this set of overlapping YACs encompasses the jointless locus. Two YAC ends, TY159L (L indicates left end) and TY143R (R indicates right end), cosegregate with the jointless locus. Only one of the six YACs (TY142) contained single-copy DNA sequences at both ends that could be mapped. The two ends of TY142 were mapped to either side of the jointless locus, indicating that TY142 contains a contiguous 285 kb tomato DNA fragment that probably includes the jointless locus. Physical mapping of the TY142 clone revealed that TY159L and TY143R reside on a 55 kb SalI fragment. Southern blot hybridization analysis of the DNAs of tomato lines nearly isogenic for the jointless mutation has allowed localization of the target locus to a region of less than 50 kb within the TY142 clone. © 1994 Springer-Verlag.