An optimized protocol has been developed for the efficient and rapid genetic modification of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L). A polyethylene glycol- mediated DNA transformation technique could be applied to protoplast populations enriched specifically for a single totipotent cell type derived from stomatal guard cells, to achieve high transformation frequencies. Bialaphos resistance, conferred by the pat gene, produced a highly efficient selection system. The majority of plants were obtained within 8 to 9 weeks and were appropriate for plant breeding purposes. All were resistant to glufosinate-ammonium-based herbicides. Detailed genomic characterization has verified transgene integration, and progeny analysis showed Mendelian inheritance.