A variety of different cyclin proteins have been identified in higher eukaryotes. In the case of cyclin B, functional analyses have clearly demonstrated an important role in the control of entry into mitosis. The function of cyclin A is more complex. It appears to function in the control of both S- and M-phase. The results of our genetic analyses in Drosophila demonstrate that cyclin A has a mitotic function and that it acts synergistically with cyclin B during the G2-M transition. In double mutant embryos that express neither cyclin A nor cyclin B zygotically, cell cycle progression is blocked just before the exhaustion of the maternally contributed cyclin A and B stores. BrdU-labeling experiments indicate that cell cycle progression is blocked in G2 before entry into the fifteenth round of mitosis. Expression of either cyclin A or B from heat-inducible transgenes is sufficient to overcome this cell cycle block. This block is also not observed in single mutant embryos deficient for either cyclin A or B. In cyclin B deficient embryos, cell cycle progression continues after the apparent exhaustion of the maternal contribution, suggesting that cyclin B might not be essential for mitosis. However, mitotic spindles are clearly abnormal and progression through mitosis is delayed in these cyclin B deficient embryos.