Mutations at the short gastrulation locus affect the timing of certain early morphogenetic events occurring during gastrulation in Drosophila melanogaster. Specifically, the invagination and subsequent closing of the posterior midgut and the anterior midgut appear to be delayed in these embryos. In addition, their germbands do not extent the full distance anteriorly on the dorsal side of the embryo. The dorsal cells are abnormally thick and fall into extremely deep dorsal folds as the germband extends. sog embryos continue development, but form disorganized first instar larvae. Normal sog expression is required in the zygote, but not in the mother for normal embryonic development and viability. Analysis of adult and larval gynandromorphs indicates that sog expression is required only in the ventral and/or anterior and posterior ends of the embryo, arguing that the dorsal abnormalities caused by the mutation are secondary consequences of defects elsewhere in mutant embryos.