Mutations in the furrowed (fw) gene of Drosophila result in defects in the development of the eye and mechanosensory bristles. The eyes are reduced in size, have furrows or crevices in the retina, and show a disturbed patterning of ommatidia. In addition, the ommatidia have an altered morphology and often contain abnormal numbers of cells. The bristles show altered structure and polarity, and are occasionally duplicated or missing. These results suggest that the product of thefw gene is involved in cell determination events within sensory organs. Thefw gene has been cloned and shown to encode a protein homologous to vertebrate selectins. Like selectins, Fw contains a lectin-binding domain, ten complement binding repeats, and a transmembrane domain. The Fw protein is expressed in the larval imaginal discs where it might mediate carbohydrate-protein interactions necessary for proper development of a subset of adult sensory organs.