A transgene was inserted at several different chromosomal sites in Drosophila melanogaster, where its expression was subject to genomic position effects. Quantitative position effects and variegated and constant patterned position effects were observed. We investigated the status of the affected gene in the somatic cells where it normally functions. The FLP site-specific recombinase was used to remove the gene from the chromosome and its expression was then evaluated. We show that the FLP recombinase functions in cells that have finished their developmental program of mitoses. When FLP acts on directly repeated copies of its target site (FRT), the DNA flanked by those FRTs is excised from the chromosome as a closed circle. The extrachromosomal circle is maintained in nondividing cells, and a gene located on such a circle can be expressed. We then demonstrate that a gene subject to either variegated or constant position effect can be relieved of that effect by excision of the gene from the chromosome in cells where it would otherwise be inactive. We also observed a strong inhibition of FLP-mediated recombination for target sites located near centric heterochromatin.