Chondromodulin-I (ChM-I) is suggested in higher vertebrate systems to function as a key regulatory protein for cartilage development. To further understand the process of chondrogenesis and the function of ChM-I, we have cloned the zebrafish cDNA for chondromodulin-1 (chm1) and have mapped the chm1 gene locus. The expression profile of chm1 was determined during zebrafish embryonic development and compared to that of type II collagen (col2a1). Maternal chm1 transcripts were detected before midblastula transition and zygotic expression of chm1 was first observed in the notochord at the 10-somite stage. At later developmental stages, chm1 expression was detected in areas surrounding the otic vesicles, in the developing craniofacial cartilage elements, and in the chondrogenic region of the pectoral fins.