We have identified the regulatory sequences required for the periodic expression of the Drosophila pair rule gene even skipped (eve). We find that the gradually changing pattern of periodic eve expression during early embryogenesis is directed by two distinct regulatory programs. Initially, eve expression in individual stripes is established by different regulatory elements, each of which responds to nonperiodic spatial cues provided, at least in part, by the gap genes. Later, coordinate expression of eve in all seven stripes is directed by a single regulatory region that responds to periodic cues provided by primary pair rule genes, including eve itself. As a consequence of this two-step regulatory program, eve functions both in the establishment of the periodic pattern of gene expression and in the subsequent specification of parasegmental boundaries.