The two-point theory of homogeneous isotropic turbulence is extended to source terms appearing in the equations for higher-order structure functions. For this, transport equations for these source terms are derived. We focus on the trace of the resulting equations, which is of particular interest because it is invariant and therefore independent of the coordinate system. In the trace of the even-order source term equation, we discover the higher-order moments of the dissipation distribution, and the individual even-order source term equations contain the higher-order moments of the longitudinal, transverse and mixed dissipation distribution functions. This shows for the first time that dissipation fluctuations, on which most of the phenomenological intermittency models are based, are contained in the Navier–Stokes equations. Noticeably, we also find the volume-averaged dissipation
used by Kolmogorov (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 13, 1962, pp. 82–85) in the resulting system of equations, because it is related to dissipation correlations.