Somites in vertebrates are periodic segmented structures that give rise to the vertebrae and muscles of body. Somites are generated from presomitic mesoderm (PSM), but it is not fully understood how cellular differentiation and segment formation are achieved in the anterior PSM. We report here that zebrafish gadd45beta1 and gadd45beta2 genes are periodically expressed as paired stripes adjacent to the neural tube in the anterior PSM region where presomitic cells mature. In mammals, it is known that GADD45 (growth arrest and DNA damage) family proteins play a role in cell-cycle control. We found that both knockdown and overexpression of gadd45beta genes caused somite defects with different consequences for marker gene expression. Knockdown of gadd45beta genes with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides caused a broad expansion of mesp-a in the PSM, and both cyclic expression of her1 and segmented expression of MyoD were disorganized. On the other hand, injection of gadd45beta1 or gadd45beta2 suppressed expression of mesp-a and her1 in anterior PSM and MyoD in paraxial mesoderm. These results indicate that regulated expression of gadd45beta genes in the anterior PSM is required for somite segmentation.