Embryos derived from oskar females lack pole cells and the specialized pole plasm including polar granules. In addition, the abdominal region remains unsegmented and eventually dies. Transplantation of cytoplasm from normal embryos into mutant embryos reveals that osk-dependent activity is strictly localized at the posterior pole and has three distinct functions. In mutant embryos the activity will normalize pole cell formation when transplanted into the posterior pole and abdominal segmentation after transplantation to a more anterior, the prospective abdominal, region. Furthermore, osk activity can provoke the formation of a second "posterior center" at the anterior. The participation of the osk product in the establishment of a source of morphogenetic activity in the posterior pole plasm is discussed.