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We have made a P-element derivative called Pc[ry], which carries the selectable marker gene rosy, but which acts like a nondefective, intact P element. It transposes autonomously into the germline chromosomes of an M-strain Drosophila embryo and it mobilizes in trans the defective P elements of the singed-weak allele. Frameshift mutations introduced into any of the four major open reading frames of the P sequence were each sufficient to eliminate the transposase activity, but none affected signals required in cis for transposition of the element. Complementation tests between pairs of mutant elements suggest that a single polypeptide comprises the transposase. We have examined transcripts of P elements both from natural P strains and from lines containing only nondefective Pc[ry] elements, and have identified two RNA species that appear to be specific for autonomous elements.