A combination of genetic and dietary manipulations have been utilized to investigate the physiology of pyrimidine metabolism throughout the Drosophila life cycle. We present evidence that the dietary sources of pyrimidines ingested at the larval stage are sufficient for all subsequent stages of the life cycle, except the process of oögenesis in adult females where a maternal supply of endogenously synthesized pyrimidines is normally required. Deprivation of dietary and de novo synthesis does not affect adult longevity; indicating that with the exception of oögenesis, all normal functions are carried out by recycling pyrimidines produced or ingested at the larval stage. In an enzymatic analysis, we have determined that Drosophila does not adjust for pyrimidine dietary deficiencies by significantly altering the level of synthesis of two tested enzymes encoded by the rudimentary locus, even though the pyrimidine deficiency is a rate limiting step in the completion of development. © 1980.