A single copy gene has been isolated, termed GOS2, from rice. Sequence comparison revealed highly similar genes in mammals and yeast, indicating that GOS2 encodes an evolutionary conserved protein. GOS2 mRNA was detected in all tissues examined. When the upstream region was translationally fused to the reporter gene gusA it was found to drive expression in a variety of rice tissues and in cell suspensions of other monocot species following introduction by particle bombardment. Therefore, the GOS2 promoter is potentially useful for genetic engineering of monocots. A DNA‐binding activity from rice, termed rice ASF‐1, with similar binding specificity as the cloned tobacco transcription factor TGA‐1a, was found to bind to a TGACG sequence motif in the GOS2 promoter. Possible roles for rice ASF‐1 in the transcriptional activation of the GOS2 promoter are discussed.