Genomic tools such as the availability of the Drosophila genome sequence, the relative ease of stable transformation, and DNA microarrays have made the fruit fly a powerful model in insecticide toxicology research. We have used transgenic promoter-GFP constructs to document the detailed pattern of induced Cyp6a2 gene expression in larval and adult Drosophila tissues. We also compared various insecticides and xenobiotics for their ability to induce this cytochrome P450 gene, and show that the pattern of Cyp6a2 inducibility is comparable to that of vertebrate CYP2B genes, and different from that of vertebrate CYP1A genes, suggesting a degree of evolutionary conservation for the "phenobarbital-type" induction mechanism. Our results are compared to the increasingly diverse reports on P450 induction that can be gleaned from whole genome or from "detox" microarray experiments in Drosophila. These suggest that only a third of the genomic repertoire of CYP genes is inducible by xenobiotics, and that there are distinct subsets of inducers / induced genes, suggesting multiple xenobiotic transduction mechanisms. A relationship between induction and resistance is not supported by expression data from the literature. The relative abundance of expression data now available is in contrast to the paucity of studies on functional expression of P450 enzymes, and this remains a challenge for our understanding of the toxicokinetic aspects of insecticide action.