Characterization of a group of dominant second chromosome suppressor of position-effect variegation (PEV) (Su(var)) mutants has revealed a variety of interesting properties, including: maternal-effect suppression of PEV, homozygous lethality or semilethality and male-specific hemizygous lethality, female infecundity, acute sensitivity to the amount of heterochromatin in the cell and sensitivity to sodium butyrate. Deficiency/duplication mapping and complementation tests have revealed that eight of the mutants define at least two genes in section 31 of the left arm of chromosome 2 and they suggest that a ninth corresponds to an additional nonessential Su(var) gene within or near this region. The effects of specific deficiencies and a duplication on PEV indicate that the expression of one or more of the Su(var) genes in this region of the chromosome is dose-dependent, i.e., capable of haplo-abnormal suppression and triplo-abnormal enhancement. Interestingly, the appearance of certain visible phenotypes among a subset of the mutants suggests that they may possess antimorphic properties. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that two of these Su(var) genes encode structural components of heterochromatin. We also report that two previously isolated mutants located in 31E and 31F-32A act as recessive suppressors of PEV.