Drosophila P transposable elements encode two proteins, an 87 kd transposase protein and a 66 kd protein that has been hypothesized to repress transposition. We have made germline transformants carrying modified P element derivatives that encode only the 66 kd protein and shown that these elements repress transposase activity in both the germline and the soma. The position of these elements in the genome quantitatively affected their ability to negatively regulate transposase and to express the 66 kd protein. Single 66 kd element-containing strains did not exhibit the maternal inheritance of P cytotype characteristic of P strains. However, we demonstrated that a true P strain produced higher levels of the 66 kd protein during oogenesis than single 66 kd P elements. Thus, the expression of the 66 kd repressor during oogenesis may be a major determinant of the maternal effect of P cytotype.