A homologue of the bacterial cell division gene ftsZ was cloned from the filamentous bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor. The gene was located on the physical map of the chromosome at about ‘11 o'clock’ (in the vicinity of glkA, hisA and trpB). Surprisingly, a null mutant in which the 399-codon ftsZ open reading frame was largely deleted was viable, even though the mutant was blocked in septum formation. This indicates that cell division may not be essential for the growth and viability of S. coelicolor. The ftsZ mutant was able to produce aerial hyphae but was unable to produce spores, a finding consistent with the idea that ftsZ is required in order for aerial hyphae to undergo septation into the uninucleoid cells that differentiate into spores.