We have conducted a genetic and developmental analysis of the 26 contiguous genetic complementation groups within the 19D3-20F2 interval of the base of the X chromosome, a region of 34 polytene bands delimited by the maroon-like and suppressor of forked loci. Within this region there are four loci which cause visible phenotypes but which have little or no effect on zygotic viability (maroon-like, little fly, small optic lobes and sluggish). There are 22 loci which, when mutated, are zygotic lethals and three of these, legless/runt, folded gastrulation and 13E3, have severe effects on embryonic development. In addition, three visible phenotypes have been defined only by overlapping deficiencies (melanized-like, tumorous head, and varied outspread). We have analyzed the lethal phases and maternal requirement of 58 mutations at 22 of the zygotic lethal loci by means of germline clone analysis using the dominant female sterile technique. Additionally, all lethal complementation groups, as well as a specific subset of deficiencies, have been studied histologically for defects in the development of the central and peripheral embryonic nervous systems.