During development of the homothallic ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans, asexual sporulation is followed by sexual sporulation. We report here the detection of a solvent-extractable activity which inhibits asexual sporulation and stimulates premature sexual sporulation. This activity, called precocious sexual inducer (psi), is overproduced by certain mutants that are blocked in both modes of sporulation. Using partially purified preparations of psi, biological response could be elicited with as little as 50 ng of material. We suggest that psi is a hormone-precursor which is converted to a hormone by normal sporulating strains that respond to psi, but not by the asporogenous mutants that overproduce psi. The stability of psi activity gives promise that the compound can be purified and identified.