A method of expressing heterologous expansin in a plant cell is provided where a nucleic acid molecule encoding expansin is introduced into the plant cell and in an embodiment is operably linked to a promoter preferentially expressing in the seed tissue of the plant, and in another embodiment is linked to a promoter preferentially expressing in the embryo tissue of the seed. An embodiment provides the nucleic acid molecule is operably linked to a second nucleic acid molecule that directs expression to the endoplasmic reticulum, vacuole or cell wall. Plants and plant parts expressing expansin are provided. An assay for detection of expansin activity is also provided.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
 This invention was made with Government support under contract (DE FG36 G088025) awarded by The US Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.