The fast generation time, small genome size and extensive genetic map of the crucifer Arabidopsis thaliana have made it the subject of an increasing number of studies in plant molecular genetics1. As transposable elements have greatly facilitated genetic analysis in a variety of species, we have attempted to identify an endogenous A. thaliana transposable element. We report here the discovery of a family of such elements, which we refer to as Ta1 elements. Sequence analysis of one such element shows that it is closely related to retrotransposons and integrated retroviral proviruses, being bound by a direct sequence repeat and having an open reading frame with clear sequence similarity to the polyprotein of the Drosophila melanogaster retrotransposon copia. The sequence of an empty target site of a Ta1 element shows that insertion is accompanied by a five-base-pair target-site duplication and that Ta1 has transposed in the period of time since divergence of two races of A. thaliana.