We have identified five new alleles, including an amber allele, at each of two loci (zyg-11 II and zyg-9 II) previously identified by temperature-sensitive strict maternal-effect lethal mutations. Genetic analysis indicates that each of these genes is expressed specifically during oogenesis and encodes a protein product whose function is required only during embryogenesis. Temperature-pulse experiments suggest that the time of action of both products is during the one-cell stage of embryogenesis. Phenotypic analysis reveals that mutations in both loci lead to disorganization of the cytoplasm in early embryos and to abnormalities in at least one of the meiotic divisions. Mutations at the zyg-9 locus appear to specifically affect microtubule function in one-cell embryos while zyg-11 mutations affect many cytoplasmic properties.