A second chromosomal trans-acting modifier, Lightener of white (Low), modulates the phenotypic expression of various alleles of the white eye color gene. This modifier has an unusually broad spectrum of affected genes including white, brown, scarlet and the eye developmental genes, Bar and Lobe. In addition, Low weakly suppresses position effect variegation. Northern blot hybridization with different X and autosomal probes reveals that Low modulates genes of independent expression patterns. Interestingly, many of the modulations of gene expression are developmentally restricted and differ in intensity between the sexes. Low also elevates the expression of the histone tandem repeats in three distinct developmental stages. A deficiency encompassing the histone cluster reduces their transcript levels and significantly alters the expression of some of the tested genes. Thus, Low is a modifier that plays a role in modulating the expression of genes governing various processes including pigment deposition, eye development, chromosomal proteins and position effect variegation.