Approximately 30 kb of genomic DNA enclosing the Adh locus from the medfly, Ceratitis capitata have been cloned and about 15 kb has been structurally and functionally characterized. The locus consists of two genes, Adh-1 and Adh-2, separated by an intergenic region, which is polymorphic in size ranging from approximate to 6.4 kb to 8.1 kb. Both genes consist of three exons and two introns. The introns are below 200 bp in size, except the 1st intron of Adh-1, which is unexpectedly long, variable in size and contains a deleted mariner-like element (postdoc). The two genes are transcribed in different orientations. The Adh-2 gene shows the typical pattern of transcription seen in the homologous genes of Drosophilidae presenting high levels of expression in the fat body, gut and ovaries. The Adh-1 gene is only expressed in the body muscle tissues of embryos, larvae and adult flies, raising the question of what its biological function may be. A DNA fragment containing bases -102 to -1666 relative to the first base of the initiating ATG of Adh-1 is sufficient to drive the expression of a reporter gene in body muscles of Drosophila melanogaster embryos, larvae and adult flies. The study provides further insights into the evolution of the Adh genes of higher diptera.