The Polycomb (Pc) group genes of Drosophila are negative regulators of homeotic genes, but individual loci have pleiotropic phenotypes. It has been suggested that Pc group genes might form a regulatory hierarchy, or might be members of a multimeric complex that obeys the law of mass action. Recently, it was shown that polyhomeotic (ph) immunoprecipitates in a multimeric complex that includes Pc. Here, we show that duplications of ph suppress homeotic transformations of Pc and Pcl, supporting a mass-action model for Pc group function. We crossed ph alleles to all members of the Polycomb group, and to E(Pc) and Su(z)2 to look for synergistic effects. We observed extragenic noncomplementation between ph503 and Pc, Psc1 and Su(z)2(1) in females, and between ph409 and Sce1, ScmD1 and E(z)1 mutations in males, suggesting that these gene products might interact directly with ph. Males hemizygous for a temperature-sensitive allele, ph2, are lethal when heterozygous with mutants in Asx, Pc, Pcl, Psc, Sce and Scm, and with E(Pc) and Su(z)2. Mutations in trithorax group genes were not able to suppress the lethality of ph2/Y; Psc1/+ males. ph2 was not lethal with extra sex combs, E(z), super sex combs (sxc) or l(4)102EFc heterozygotes, but did cause earlier lethality in embryos homozygous for E(z), sxc and l(4)102EFc. However, ph503 did not enhance homeotic phenotypes of esc heterozygotes derived from homozygous esc- mothers. We examined the embryonic phenotypes of ph2 embryos that were lethal when heterozygous or homozygous for other mutations. Based on this phenotypic analysis, we suggest that ph may perform different functions in conjunction with differing subsets of Pc group genes.