Experiments were carried out to explore the involvement of the plant hormone gibberellin (GA) in the light-induced germination of lettuce seeds. Three growth retardants known to be inhibitors of GA biosynthesis were tested for their effect on red-light-induced germination. Chlormequat chloride (CCC) and AMO-1618 had no effect, but ancymidol was strongly inhibitory. Moreover, the inhibition caused by ancymidol was completely overcome by GA3. CCC and AMO-1618 inhibit the formation of ent-kaurene, while ancymidol blocks the oxidation of ent-kaurene to ent-kaurenoic acid. Ancymidol also was found to inhibit GA-induced dark germination of lettuce seeds, and this inhibition was partially reversed by higher levels of GA. Therefore, the results suggest two possibilities for the relationship between phytochrome and GA in this system: first, the rate-limiting step in the germination of light-sensitive lettuce seeds, that which is regulated by phytochrome, is the oxidation of ent-kaurene to ent-kaurenoic acid. Alternatively, red-light treatment may result in the release of active GAlike substances which, in turn, induce germination. In either case the results presented here support the view that phytochrome exerts its effect on lettuce seed germination by means of GA rather than via an independent pathway.