The development of the central nervous system in Drosophila is initiated by the segregation of neuroblasts, the neural progenitors, from the embryonic neuroectoderm. This process is guided by at least two classes of genes: the achaete-scute complex (AS-C) proneural genes and the neurogenic genes. It has been known for some time that loss-of-function mutations in the AS-C result in neural hypoplasia and the first observed defect is failure of segregation of a fraction of neuroblasts. Loss-of-function mutations at the ventral nervous system defective (vnd) locus are known to lead to similar phenotypic defects in early neurogenesis. More recently, the vnd locus has been implicated in the regulation of the proneural AS-C genes and the neurogenic genes of the Enhancer of split complex. In this paper we report the identification of a transcript associated with the vnd locus, the transcript distribution in embryogenesis, which is compatible with the nervous system mutant phenotypes described for this gene, and that the protein product is a member of the NK-2 homeodomain family. We discuss these findings within the framework of early Drosophila neurogenesis and the known phenotypes associated with the vnd locus.