The interaction between the fungal pathogen Cladosporium fulvum and tomato is supposed to have a gene-for-gene basis. Races of C. fulvum which have ‘overcome’ the resistance gene Cf9 of tomato, lack the avirulence gene avr9 which encodes a race-specific peptide elicitor. Races avirulent on tomato genotypes carrying the resistance gene Cf9 produce the racespecific peptide elicitor, which induces the hypersensitive response (HR) on those genotypes. The causal relationship between the presence of a functional avr9 gene and avirulence on tomato genotype Cf9 was demonstrated by cloning of the avr9 gene and subsequent transformation of C. fulvum. A race virulent on tomato genotype Cf9 was shown to become avirulent by transformation with the cloned avr9 gene. These results clearly demonstrate that the avr9 gene is responsible for cultivar specificity on tomato genotype Cf9 and fully support the gene-for-gene hypothesis. The avr9 gene is the first fungal avirulence gene to be cloned.