Microtubule nucleation in vivo requires gamma-tubulin, a highly conserved component of microtubule-organizing centers. In Drosophila melanogaster there are two gamma-tubulin genes, gammaTUB23C and gammaTUB37C. Here we report the cytological and molecular characterization of the 37C isoform. By Western blotting, this protein can only be detected in ovaries and embryos. Antibodies against this isoform predominantly label the centrosomes in embryos from early cleavage divisions until cycle 15, but fail to reveal any particular localization of gamma-tubulin in the developing egg chambers. The loss of function of this gene results in female sterility and has no effect on viability or male fertility. Early stages of oogenesis are unaffected by mutations in this gene, as judged both by morphological criteria and by localization of reporter genes, but the female meiotic spindle is extremely disrupted. Nuclear proliferation within the eggs laid by mutant females is also impaired. We conclude that the expression of the 37C gamma-tubulin isoform of D. melanogaster is under strict developmental regulation and that the organization of the female meiotic spindle requires gamma-tubulin.