In U. maydis the multiallelic b locus controls sexual and pathogenic development. In the b locus a gene coding for a regulatory protein had been identified, and it was suggested that the interaction of two b polypeptides specified by different alleles programs sexual development in this fungus. We now demonstrate the existence of a second regulatory gene in the b locus. We term this gene bW and refer to the former as the bE gene. Both genes exist in many alleles. Although unrelated in primary sequence, both genes are similar in their overall organization. The gene products display allele-specific variability in their N-terminal domains, show a high degree of sequence conservation in the C-terminal domains, and contain a homeodomain-related motif. Genetic evidence is provided to show that the pair of bE and bW polypeptides encoded by different b alleles is the key regulatory species.