Adult female fruitflies exposed to colchicine admixed to the culture medium show a series of dosage-related abnormalities that affect oogenesis and may induce sterility. Among the effects observed were decreased fecundity and hatchability of laid eggs, formation of oocytes lacking chorionic appendages, abnormal distribution and diminution in number of yolk spheres, inhibition of oocyte growth and abnormally located oocyte nuclei. Potentially the most significant effect was the development of egg chambers which contained the normal complement of 16 cells but in which all the cells had the nuclear morphology of nurse cells. The approach provides for the first time an experimental means to divert a potential oocyte into the developmental pathway of the nurse cell in a wild-type fly, and hence should be helpful in the elucidation of factors which control oocyte and nurse cell differentiation. In addition, the results serve to expand the usefulness of oogenesis in Drosophila as a model system for the evaluation of drug-induced metabolic-morphologic abnormalities.