The threonine-glycine (Thr-Gly) repeat region of the period (per) gene of eight natural populations of Drosophila simulans from Europe and North Africa was analyzed by polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing and heteroduplex formation. Five different length alleles encoding 21, 23, 25 and two different kinds of 24 Thr-Gly pairs in the uninterrupted repeat were found. In the 3' region flanking the repeat 6 nucleotide substitutions (3 synonymous, 3 replacement) were observed in three different combinations that we called haplotypes I, II and III. The complete linkage disequilibrium observed between the haplotypes and these length variants allowed us to infer from the repeat length, the DNA sequence at the 3' polymorphic sites. The haplotypes were homogeneously distributed across Europe and North Africa. The data show statistically significant departures from neutral expectations according to the Tajima test. The results suggest that balancing selection might have played a role in determining the observed levels and patterns of genetic diversity at the per gene in D. simulans.