Protoporphyrin IX is believed to be an intermediate common to both haem and chlorophyll biosynthesis. The pathway specific to chlorophyll starts with magnesium protoporphyrin and its monomethyl ester. Two routes have been proposed for conversion of the latter compound to protochlorophyllide: A, formation of the isocyclic ring followed by reduction of the 4-vinyl group, or B, reduction of the 4-vinyl group followed by formation of the isocyclic ring. Membranes prepared from isolated barley etioplasts are found to convert magnesium 2,4-divinylphaeoporphyrin a<latex>$_5$</latex> monomethyl ester to chlorophyllide a at a rate equal to that of chlorophyll synthesis in intact leaves: this result supports route A. NADPH is necessary to maintain the two successive reductive steps: reduction of the 4-vinyl group and then the photoreduction of ring IV to yield chlorophyllide. The prohaem content of etiolated leaves does not increase during the phase of active chlorophyll synthesis although evidence is presented that suggests that the ALA synthesis reaction that regulates chlorophyll synthesis is common to both pathways. This and other regulatory aspects are discussed.