We have isolated several Zea mays cDNAs encoding the 40S subunit ribosomal protein S14. In maize, this ribosomal protein is encoded by a small multigene family, at least three members of which are expressed. S14 transcript levels are highest in mitotically active tissues, such as seedling shoot, developing endosperm, and tassel primordia, and lowest in tissues with little cell division, such as mature leaf and root. Very little S14 RNA is present in pollen, suggesting that translation of pollen mRNAs during pollen germination uses preformed ribosomes. During kernel development, the highest levels of S14 transcripts in endosperm tissue are found at 10-12 days postpollination; S14 RNA levels decline continuously from this point onward. The period of maximal expression of the S14 ribosomal protein gene appears to precede the onset of storage protein synthesis and does not correlate with the reported times of increased nucleolar volume or genome amplification.