S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (SAMDC) is involved in the biosynthesis of the polyamines, spermidine and spermine. Recently, we reported the isolation of a putative cDNA clone of the SAMDC clone of potato (Plant Mol Biol 20; 641-651). In order to confirm that the potato genes does encode SAMDC, a complementation experiment with a yeast strain that possesses a null mutation in the SAMDC gene was performed. The yeast strain contains a deletion-insertion mutation in the SAMDC gene and has an absolute requirement for the addition of exogenous spermidine for growth. When the full-length potato cDNA was expressed in the mutant yeast strain there was no longer a requirement for exogenous spermidine. Immunoblotting experiments suggest that the potato SAMDC gene product has an apparent molecular mass of 39 kDa. Expression of the SAMDC gene was high in the young and actively dividing tissues and low in the mature and non-dividing tissues of both vegetative and reproductive organs. Additionally, isolation and characterisation of the corresponding genomic clone is reported. The gene has one intron in its 5'-untranslated sequence but otherwise the transcribed portion is identical to the cDNA clone.