Molecular and genetic analysis has revealed a specific P factor deletion derivative (the KP element) which is able to repress P-induced hybrid dysgenesis. All naturally occurring strains lacking the P cytotype (M') that were examined, throughout the world contain up to 30 copies of KP per haploid genome together with complete P factors. The KP element is derived from the P factor by an internal deletion of 1753 bp removing nucleotides 808-2560 and is transcribed to yield an abundant 0.8-kb poly(A)+ RNA with the coding capacity for an in-frame 207 amino acid polypeptide. Genetic crosses show that KP elements preferentially accumulate in the presence of P factors and suppress hybrid dysgenesis. Suppression is transmitted through both sexes and is thus distinct from the maternally transmitted P cytotype mode of suppression. The spread of KP elements is probably due to the continual selection of individuals with the highest numbers of KP elements in which P-induced hybrid dysgenesis is suppressed.