The identification of genes of large effect on ecologically important traits is an important aim of molecular ecology. The period gene of Drosophila is a candidate for a gene with a large influence on premating isolation between Drosophila species, as it determines species specific aspects of courtship behaviour. Strains of D. melanogaster are available which have been genetically transformed with the period gene of either D. melanogaster or D. simulans. Here we show that D. melanogaster females do not discriminate between two such strains. This suggests that period may only make a small contribution to total premating isolation between these species. We discuss the use of genetically transformed strains in assessing the influence of single genes on complex traits.