Mutant alleles at the maternal effect locus dorsal cause a dorsalization of the Drosophila embryo. In extreme mutants, the embryos develop exclusively structures which derive from the dorsal-most region in normal eggs, in less strong phenotypes in addition to dorsal structures, structures normally derived from a dorso-lateral to lateral egg region are formed. Injection of cytoplasm from wild-type embryos into mutant embryos partially restores the dorso-ventral pattern in that injected embryos develop additional structures never formed in uninjected control embryos or embryos injected with mutant cytoplasm. The phenotype of injected embryos resembles that of weaker alleles at the dorsal locus indicating that the wild-type cytoplasm partially rescues the mutant phenotype. The response of the mutant embryos is restricted to the site of injection and occurs only when cytoplasm is injected into the ventral and not into the dorsal side of mutant embryos. The rescuing activity appears to be equally distributed in cleavage stage wild-type embryos, whereas, in syncytial blastoderm embryos, cytoplasm from the ventral side is about twice as effective as that taken from the dorsal side.