The 93D, or hsr-omega (heat-shock RNA-omega), locus of Drosophila melanogaster and other species of Drosophila, besides being induced as a member of the heat shock gene family, is also selectively and singularly inducible by a variety of agents, notably benzamide, colchicine and vitamin B6 (in species other than D. melanogaster). The genomic structure of this locus is highly conserved in all species, although the primary base sequence has diverged rapidly between species. Three transcripts (two nuclear and one cytoplasmic) are produced by this locus but none of them has any significant protein coding capacity. The profile of the three transcripts varies in a developmental and inducer-specific manner. This locus is developmentally active in nearly all cell types and is essential for viability of flies. Its induction during heat shock is independent of the other members of the heat shock gene family. The other selective inducers act on this locus through separate response elements. hsr-omega activity has a characteristic effect on transcription/turnover of the heat shock induced hsp70 and the alpha-beta transcripts in D. melanogaster. It appears that the hsr-omega locus has important house-keeping functions in transport and turnover of some transcripts and in monitoring the 'health' of the translational machinery of the cell.