We have previously established a transgenic Drosophila line with a highly transposable P element insertion. Using this strain we analyzed transposition and excision of the P element at the molecular level. We examined sequences flanking the new insertion sites and those of the remnants after excision. Our results on mobilization of the P element demonstrate that target-site duplication at the original insertion site does not play a role in forward excision and transposition. After P element excision an 8 bp target-site duplication and part of the 31 bp terminal inverted repeat (5-18 bp) remained in all the strains examined. Moreover, in 11 out of 28 strains, extra sequences were found between the two remaining inverted repeats. The double-strand gap repair model does not explain the origin of these extra sequences. The mechanism creating them may be similar to the hairpin model proposed for the transposon Tam in Antirrhinum majus.