Exposure to light precipitates the symptoms of several genetic disorders that affect both skin and internal organs. It is presumed that damage to non-cutaneous organs is initiated indirectly by light, but this is difficult to study in mammals. Zebrafish have an essentially transparent periderm for the first days of development. In a previous large-scale genetic screen we isolated a mutation, dracula (drc), which manifested as a light-dependent lysis of red blood cells . We report here that protoporphyrin IX accumulates in the mutant embryos, suggesting a deficiency in the activity of ferrochelatase, the terminal enzyme in the pathway for heme biosynthesis. We find that homozygous drc(m248) mutant embryos have a G-->T transversion at a splice donor site in the ferrochelatase gene, creating a premature stop codon. The mutant phenotype, which shows light-dependent hemolysis and liver disease, is similar to that seen in humans with erythropoietic protoporphyria, a disorder of ferrochelatase.