A cDNA expression library of developing corn (Zea mays L.) endosperm has been constructed using plasmid pUC8 as vector and Escherichia coli strain DH1 as host. The expression library was screened with non-radioactive immunological probes to detect the expression of gamma-zein and alpha-zein. When anti-gamma-zein antibody was used as the probe, 23 colonies gave positive reactions. The lengths of cDNA inserts of the 23 colonies were found to be 250-900 base pairs. When anti-alpha zein antibody was used, however, fewer colonies gave positive reactions. The library was also screened by colony-hybridization with /sup 32/P-labeled DNA probes. Based on immunological and hybridization screening of the library and other evidence, it was conclude that alpha-zein was either toxic to E. coli cells or rapidly degraded whereas gamma-zein and its fragments were readily expressed. 21 references.