Previous genetic studies have shown that wild-type function of the l(1)ogre (lethal (1) optic ganglion reduced) locus is essential for the generation and/or maintenance of the postembryonic neuroblasts including those from which the optic lobe is descended. In the present study molecular isolation and characterization of the l(1)ogre locus was carried out to study the structure and expression of this gene in order to gain information about the nature of l(1)ogre function and its relevance to the development of the central nervous system. About 70 kilobases (kb) of genomic DNA were isolated that spanned the region where l(1)ogre was known to reside. Southern analysis of a l(1)ogre mutation and subsequent P element-mediated DNA transformation mapped the l(1)ogre+ function within a genomic fragment of 12.5 kb. Northern analyses showed that a 2.9-kb message transcribed from this 12.5-kb region represented l(1)ogre. A 2.15-kb portion of a corresponding cDNA clone was sequenced. An open reading frame (ORF) of 1,086 base paris was found, and a protein sequence of 362 amino acids with one highly hydrophobic segment was deduced from conceptual translation of this ORF.