Deletions in the Drosophila minichromosome Dp1187 were used to investigate the genetic interactions of trans-acting genes with the centromere. Mutations in several genes known to have a role in chromosome inheritance were shown to have dominant effects on the stability of minichromosomes with partially defective centromeres. Heterozygous mutations in the ncd and klp3A kinesin-like protein genes strongly reduced the transmission of minichromosomes missing portions of the genetically defined centromere but had little effect on the transmission of minichromosomes with intact centromeres. Using this approach, ncd and klp3A were shown to require only the centromeric region of the chromosome for their roles in chromosome segregation. Increased gene dosage also affected minichromosome transmission and was used to demonstrate that the nod kinesin-like protein gene interacts genetically with the centro mere, in addition to interacting with extracentromeric regions as demonstrated previously. The results presented in this study strongly suggest that dominant genetic interactions between mutations and centromere-defective minichromosomes could be used effectively to identify novel genes necessary for centromere function.