We report the complete molecular organization of the Dopa decarboxylase gene cluster. Mutagenesis screens recovered 77 new Df(2L)TW130 recessive lethal mutations. These new alleles combined with 263 previously isolated mutations in the cluster to define 18 essential genes. In addition, seven new deficiencies were isolated and characterized. Deficiency mapping, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and P-element-mediated germline transformation experiments determined the gene order for all 18 loci. Genomic and cDNA restriction endonuclease mapping, Northern blot analysis and DNA sequencing provided information on exact gene location, mRNA size and transcriptional direction for most of these loci. In addition, this analysis identified two transcription units that had not previously been identified by extensive mutagenesis screening. Most of the loci are contained within two dense subclusters. We discuss the effectiveness of mutagens and strategies used in our screens, the variable mutability of loci within the genome of Drosophila melanogaster, the cytological and molecular organization of the Ddc gene cluster, the validity of the one band-one gene hypothesis and a possible purpose for the clustering of genes in the Ddc region.