Variant tRNA genes have been widely observed in multicellular eukaryotes. Recent biochemical studies have shown that some of them are expressed in a tissue- or a stage-specific manner. These findings would thus imply that certain modified tRNAs may be crucial for the development of the organism. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model, we have taken a combined genetic and molecular approach to examine critically the possible biological functions of tRNA(4, 7Ser) genes. We showed that at least 50% of the total templates can be deleted from the genome without inducing abnormal phenotypes such as Minute, or a decrease in viability. In addition, two of the tRNASer variant genes that are unique in sequence are also completely dispensable. This strongly implies that even though they may be expressed in vivo, they play no essential role in the development of the fruitfly. By comparison with some of the corresponding tRNA genes in another sibling species, Drosophila erecta, our results suggest strongly that the variants are products non-reciprocal exchanges among the tRNA(4, 7Ser), genes. Such intergenic recombination events may have a major influence in the concerted evolution of the two gene families.