P-element-mediated transformations involving DNA fragments from the period (per) clock gene of Drosophila melanogaster have shown that several subsegments of the locus restore rhythmicity to per0 or per- mutants. Such fragments overlap in a genomic region complementary to one transcript, a 4.5-kb RNA which is probably the per message, in that it is necessary and (in terms of expression from this X-chromosomal locus) sufficient for the fly's circadian rhythms. It is also at least necessary for the high-frequency oscillations normally produced by courting males as they vibrate their wings. The entirety of the 4.5-kb transcript is not necessary for rather strong rhythmicity; nor does it seem to be sufficient, in transformants, for wild-type behavioral phenotypes. A 0.9-kb RNA, homologous to genomic region immediately adjacent to the source of the 4.5-kb species, oscillates in its abundance over the course of a day; but coverage of this transcript source in several transformants carrying a per0 mutation--which eliminates the 0.9-kb RNA's oscillation--does not restore rhythmicity. All of the independently isolated arrhythmic mutations tested were covered by the same array of overlapping per+-derived DNA fragments, implying that the only portion of the locus which has mutated to arrhythmicity is complementary to the 4.5-kb transcript.