We determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the gypsy element present at the forked locus of Drosophila melanogaster in the f1 allele. The gypsy element shares more homology with vertebrate retroviruses than with the copia element of D. melanogaster or the Ty element of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, both in overall organization and at the DNA sequence level. This transposable element is 7,469 base pairs long and encodes three putative protein products. The long terminal repeats are 482 nucleotides long and contain transcription initiation and termination signals; sequences homologous to the polypurine tract and tRNA primer binding site of retroviruses are located adjacent to the long terminal repeats. The central region of the element contains three different open reading frames. The second one encodes a putative protein which shows extensive amino acid homology to retroviral proteins, including gag-specific protease, reverse transcriptase, and DNA endonuclease.