Paramutation is a heritable epigenetic modification induced in plants by cross-talk between allelic loci. Here we report a similar modification of the mouse Kit gene in the progeny of heterozygotes with the null mutant Kit(tm1Alf) (a lacZ insertion). In spite of a homozygous wild-type genotype, their offspring maintain, to a variable extent, the white spots characteristic of Kit mutant animals. Efficiently inherited from either male or female parents, the modified phenotype results from a decrease in Kit messenger RNA levels with the accumulation of non-polyadenylated RNA molecules of abnormal sizes. Sustained transcriptional activity at the postmeiotic stages--at which time the gene is normally silent--leads to the accumulation of RNA in spermatozoa. Microinjection into fertilized eggs either of total RNA from Kit(tm1Alf/+) heterozygotes or of Kit-specific microRNAs induced a heritable white tail phenotype. Our results identify an unexpected mode of epigenetic inheritance associated with the zygotic transfer of RNA molecules.