Divergent selection for abdominal bristle number was carried out for 47 generations, starting from a completely homozygous population of Drosophila melanogaster. All lines were selected with the same proportion (20%) but at two different numbers of selected parents of each sex (5 or 25). A significant response to selection was obtained in 25 lines (out of 40). In most cases, it could be wholly attributed to a single mutation of relatively large effect (> 0.3 phenotypic standard deviations). A total number of 30 mutations were detected. In agreement with theory, larger responses in each direction were achieved by those lines selected at greater effective population sizes. A large fraction of mutations were lethals (10/30). Thus, the observed divergence between lines of the same effective size selected in opposite directions was smaller than expected under neutrality. The ratio of new mutational variance to environmental variance was estimated to be (0.52 +/- 0.09) x 10(-3).