This study attempted to assay the zygotic contribution of X chromosome genes to the genetic control of embryonic morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. A systematic screen for X-linked genes which affect the morphology of the embryo was undertaken, employing the phenotype of whole mount embryos as the major screening criterion. Of 800 EMS-induced lethal mutations analyzed, only 14% were embryonic lethal, and of these only a minority affected embryonic morphogenesis. By recombination and complementation analyses, the mutations that affected embryonic morphogenesis were sequestered into 26 complementation groups. Fourteen of the loci correspond to genes previously identified in a large-scale screen in which fixed cuticles were examined, and 12 new loci have been identified. Most of the mutations which disrupt embryonic morphology had specific and uniform mutant phenotypes. Mutations were recovered which disrupt major morphogenetic events such as gastrulation, germ band retraction and head involution. No mutations were found which arrest the embryos prior to blastoderm formation. However, a novel class was found, one comprised of mutations which interfere with the development of internal structures but not cuticular structures. Nevertheless, saturation of the X chromosome for genes important for embryonic morphogenesis is probably incomplete.