In an earlier study (Evans, Ishikawa & Estelle 1994, Planta 194, 215–222) we used a video digitizer system to compare the kinetics of auxin action on root elongation in wild-type seedlings and seedlings of auxin response mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. We have since modified the system software to allow determination of elongation on opposite sides of vertical or gravistimulated roots and to allow continuous measurement of the angle of orientation of sequential subsections of the root during the response. We used this technology to compare the patterns of differential growth that generate curvature in roots of the Columbia ecotype and in the mutants axr1-3, axr1-12 and axr2, which show reduced gravitropic responsiveness and reduced sensitivity to inhibition by auxin. The pattern of differential growth during gravitropism differed in roots of wild-type and axr1 seedlings. In wild-type roots, initial curvature resulted from differential inhibition of elongation in the distal elongation zone (DEZ). This was followed by an acceleration of elongation along the top side of the DEZ. In roots of axr1-3, curvature resulted from differential stimulation of elongation whereas in roots of axr1-12 the response was variable. Roots of axr2 did not exhibit gravitropic curvature. The observation that the pattern of differential growth causing curvature is dramatically altered by a change in sensitivity to auxin is consistent with the classical Cholodny-Went theory of gravitropism which maintains that differential growth patterns induced by gravistimulation are mediated primarily by gravi-induced shifts in auxin distribution. The new technology introduced with this report allows automated determination of stimulus response patterns in the small but experimentally popular roots of Arabidopsis.