The indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) content of developing grains of Oryza sativa subsp. japonica was measured by combined liquid chromatography, tandem mass spectrometry in multiple-reaction-monitoring mode. The increase from 50 ng g(-1) fresh weight to 2.9 µg g(-1) fresh weight from 1 to 14 days after pollination was much larger than that previously reported by enzyme-linked immunoassay methods. The largest increase in IAA content coincided with the start of the major starch deposition phase of grain-fill. The increase in IAA content was strongly correlated with the expression of putative IAA biosynthesis genes, OsYUC9, OsYUC11 and OsTAR1, measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. These results confirm the importance of the tryptophan aminotransferase/YUCCA pathway in this system. All three genes were expressed in endosperm; expression of OsYUC11 appeared to be confined to endosperm tissue. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that OsYUC11 and AtYUC10 belong to a separate clade of YUCCAs, which do not have orthologues outside the Angiosperms. This clade may have evolved with a specific role in endosperm. Expression of tryptophan decarboxylase in developing rice grains did not correlate with IAA levels, indicating that tryptamine is unlikely to be important for IAA synthesis in this system. In light of these observations, we hypothesize that IAA production in developing rice grains is controlled via expression of OsTAR1, OsYUC9, OsYUC11 and that IAA may be important during starch deposition in addition to its previously suggested role early in grain development.