A better understanding of the genetic factors controlling grain yellow pigment content (GYPC) is important for both pasta (high GYPC) and bread wheat (low GYPC) quality improvement. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for GYPC have been mapped repeatedly on the distal regions of chromosome arms 7AL and 7BL in wheat, and the Phytoene synthase 1 (PSY-1) gene located in this region has been proposed as a candidate gene. We show here that PSY-E1, the tall wheatgrass orthologue, is completely linked to differences in GYPC, and that selection for white endosperm mutants in recombinant lines carrying this gene resulted in the identification of a mutation in a conserved amino acid of PSY-E1. These results, together with the association between GYPC and allelic differences in PSY-1 in hexaploid wheat, suggest that this gene plays an important role in the determination of GYPC. However, a second white endosperm mutant previously mapped to chromosome arm 7EL showed no mutations in PSY-E1 suggesting the existence of additional gene(s) affecting GYPC in this chromosome region. This hypothesis was further supported by the mapping of QTL for GYPC on 7AL proximal to PSY-1 in a cross between pasta wheat varieties UC1113 and Kofa. Interestingly, the Kofa PSY-B1 allele showed unusually high levels of polymorphisms as a result of a conversion event involving the PSY-A1 allele. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that allelic differences in PSY-1 and at least one additional gene in the distal region of the long arm of homoeologous group 7L are associated with differences in GYPC. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.