OsARF1 is the first full-length member of auxin response factor (ARF) gene family to be cloned from monocot plant. Using quantitative RT-PCR this study found that, the transcript abundance of OsARF1 was significantly higher in embryonic tissues than in vegetative tissues. To investigate the effect of OsARF1 on the phenotype of rice, a cDNA fragment of OsARF1 was inserted in inverse orientation to the 35S promoter in vector pBin438 to produce an antisense (AS) construction. The AS-OsARF1 construct was transferred into rice (Oryza sativa L. japonica) calli via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Molecular analysis of transgenic plants showed that the functional expression of OsARF1 was inhibited at mRNA level efficiently. The AS-OsARF1 plants showed extremely low growth, poor vigor, short curled leaves and tillered but were sterile. Therefore, the OsARF1 was shown to be essential for growth in vegetative organs and seed development.