The mei-41 gene of Drosophila melanogaster plays an essential role in meiosis, in the maintenance of somatic chromosome stability, in postreplication repair and in DNA double-strand break repair. This gene has been cytogenetically localized to polytene chromosome bands 14C4-6 using available chromosomal aberrations. About 60 kb of DNA sequence has been isolated following a bidirectional chromosomal walk that extends over the cytogenetic interval 14C1-6. The breakpoints of chromosomal aberrations identified within that walk establish that the entire mei-41 gene has been cloned. Two independently derived mei-41 mutants have been shown to carry P insertions within a single 2.2 kb fragment of the walk. Since revertants of those mutants have lost the P element sequences, an essential region of the mei-41 gene is present in that fragment. A 10.5 kb genomic fragment that spans the P insertion sites has been found to restore methyl methanesulfonate resistance and female fertility of the mei-41D3 mutants. The results demonstrate that all the sequences required for the proper expression of the mei-41 gene are present on this genomic fragment. This study provides the foundation for molecular analysis of a function that is essential for chromosome stability in both the germline and somatic cells.