Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are pleiotrophic growth factors that control cell proliferation, migration, differentiation and embryonic patterning. During early zebrafish embryonic development, FGFs regulate dorsoventral patterning by controlling ventral bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) expression. FGFs function by binding and activating high-affinity tyrosine kinase receptors. FGF activity is negatively regulated by members of the Sprouty family, which antagonize Ras signalling induced by receptor tyrosine kinases. On the basis of similarities in their expression patterns during embryonic development, we have identified five genes that define a synexpression group -- fgf8, fgf3, sprouty2, sprouty4, as well as a novel gene, sef (similar expression to fgf genes). Sef encodes a conserved putative transmembrane protein that shares sequence similarities with the intracellular domain of the interleukin 17 receptor. Here we show that in zebrafish, Sef functions as a feedback-induced antagonist of Ras/Raf/MEK/MAPK-mediated FGF signalling.