We have isolated and characterized deletions arising within a P transposon, P[hswa], in the presence of P transposase. P[hswa] carries white-apricot (wa) sequences, including a complete copia element, under the control of an hsp70 promoter, and resembles the original wa allele in eye color phenotype. In the presence of P transposase, P[hswa] shows a high overall rate (approximately 3%) of germline mutations that result in increased eye pigmentation. Of 234 derivatives of P[hswa] with greatly increased eye pigmentation, at least 205 carried deletions within copia. Of these, 201 were precise deletions between the directly repeated 276-nucleotide copia long terminal repeats (LTRs), and four were unique deletions. High rates of transposase-induced precise deletion were observed within another P transposon carrying unrelated 599 nucleotide repeats (yeast 2 mu FLP; recombinase target sites) separated by 5.7 kb. Our observation that P element-mediated deletion formation occurs preferentially between direct repeats suggests general methods for controlling deletion formation.