When grown in the absence of light, the det1 mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. develop characteristics of light-grown plants as determined by morphological, cellular, and molecular criteria. Further, in light-grown plants, mutations in the DET1 gene affect cell-type-specific expression of light-regulated genes and the chloroplast developmental program. Here we show that the addition of exogenously added cytokinins (either 2-isopentenyl adenine, kinetin, or benzyladenine) to the growth medium of dark-germinated wild-type seedlings results in seedlings that resemble det1 mutants, instead of having the normal etiolated morphology. Like det1 mutants, these dark-grown seedlings now contain chloroplasts and have high levels of expression of genes that are normally 'light'-regulated. These results suggest an important role for cytokinins during greening of Arabidopsis, and may implicate abnormal cytokinin levels or an increased sensitivity to cytokinins as explanations for some of the observed phenotypes of det1 mutants.