The identities of two types of sensory organs in the body wall of Drosophila, namely the external sensory organs and the chordotonal organs, are under genetic control. Embryonic lethal mutations in the cut gene complex transform the external sensory organs into chordotonal organs. The neurons, as well as the support cells forming the external sensory structures, change their morphological and antigenic characteristics to those of chordotonal organs, providing genetic evidence that these two types of sensory organs are homologous. Similar transformations of external sensory organs are observed in adult mosaic flies. Analysis of mosaic larvae and flies suggests that the cut gene function is required either in or near external sensory organs in order for them to acquire their correct identity.