The transposable element hobo can be mobilized to induce a variety of genetic abnormalities within the germ-line of Drosophila melanogaster. Strains containing hobos have 3.0 kb elements and numerous smaller derivatives of the element. By analogy with other transposable element systems, it is likely that only the 3.0 kb elements are capable of inducing hobo mobilization. Here, we report that a cloned 3.0 kb hobo, called HFL1, is able to mediate germ-line transformation and therefore is an autonomous (fully-functional) transposable element. Germ-line transformation was observed when HFL1 and a marked hobo element were co-injected into recipient embryos devoid of endogenous hobos. Integration did not occur in the absence of the 3.0 kb element. A single copy of the marked hobo transposon inserted at each site, and the target sites were widely distributed throughout the genome. Integration occurred at (or very near) the termini of hobo, without internal rearrangement of the hobo or marker gene sequences. The hobo transformation system will allow us to determine the structural and regulatory features of hobo responsible for its mobilization and will provide novel approaches for the molecular and genetic manipulation of the Drosophila genome.