A new full-length cDNA of stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase was obtained by RT-PCR and RACE techniques from developing seeds of Jatropha curcas. Sequence alignment showed that its deduced amino acid sequence had high similarity with other stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturases. The gene was functionally expressed in E. coli and the desaturating activity of recombinant protein was easily detected when assayed in vitro with added spinach ferredoxin. Southern blot analysis indicated that the gene was a member of a small gene family. Northern blot analysis revealed it was highly expressed in developing fruits of J. curcas.