Lophopyrum elongatum is a facultative halophyte related to wheat. Eleven unique clones corresponding to genes showing enhanced mRNA accumulation in the early stages of salt stress were previously isolated from a L. elongatum salt-stressed-root cDNA library. The chromosomal distribution of genes complementary to these clones in several genomes of the tribe Triticeae and their copy number in the L. elongatum and wheat genomes are reported. Genes complementary to clones pESI4, pESI14, pESI15, pESI28, and pESI32 were found in homoeologous group 5, those complementary to pESI18 and pESI35 in homoeologous group 6, and those complementary to pESI47, pESI48, pESI3, and pESI2 in homoeologous groups 1, 3, 4, and 7, respectively. The genes are present in a single copy per genome in L. elongatum with the exception of those complementary to pESI2 and pESI18 which are present in at least two and five copies, respectively. Since similar copy numbers per genome were found in wheat (except for pESI2), the ability of L. elongatum to accumulate higher mRNA levels than wheat in response to salt shock apears to have evolved by changes in the regulation of these genes. © 1994, Springer-Verlag. All rights reserved.