To identify genes involved in the process of germ-cell formation in Drosophila, a maternal-effect screen using the FLP/FRT-ovoD method was performed on chromosome 3R. In addition to expected mutations in the germ-cell determinant oskar and in other genes known to be involved in the process, several novel mutations caused defects in germ-cell formation. Mutations in any of three genes [l(3)malignant brain tumor, shackleton, and out of sync] affect the synchronous mitotic divisions and nuclear migration of the early embryo. The defects in nuclear migration or mitotic synchrony result in a reduction in germ-cell formation. Mutations in another gene identified in this screen, bebra, do not cause mitotic defects, but appear to act upstream of the localization of oskar. Analysis of our mutants demonstrates that two unique and independent processes must occur to form germ cells-germ-plasm formation and nuclear division/migration.