An approximately 14-kb region of genomic DNA encoding the wild-type white eye (w+) color gene from the medfly, Ceratitis capitata has been cloned and characterized at the molecular level. Comparison of the intron-exon organization of this locus among several dipteran insects reveals distinct organizational patterns that are consistent with the phylogenetic relationships of these flies and the dendrogram of the predicted primary amino acid sequence of the white loci. An examination of w+ expression during medfly development has been carried out, displaying overall similarity to corresponding studies for white gene homologues in Drosophila melanogaster and other insects. Interestingly, we have detected two phenotypically neutral allelic forms of the locus that have arisen as the result of an apparently novel insertion or deletion event located in the large first intron of the medfly white locus. Cloning and sequencing of two mutant white alleles, w1 and w2, from the we,wp and M245 strains, respectively, indicate that the mutant conditions in these strains are the result of independent events--a frameshift mutation in exon 6 for w1 and a deletion including a large part of exon 2 in the case of w2.