Little is known about the role of inheritance in the pattern of cerebral and cerebellar cortical folding, or the causes of individual variation. Inouye and Oda (J. Comp. Neurol., 190 (1980) 357-362) found that the cerebellar folial pattern varies markedly between inbred strains of mice and between individuals in a closed (non-inbred) colony, but shows little variation between individuals within a given inbred strain. They concluded that strain-specific variation in cerebellar folial pattern is under genetic control. In the present study, the folial pattern was examined in crosses between the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J inbred strains of mice, which differ in the presence or absence of a single cerebellar fissure, and in recombinant inbred strains derived from a cross between the same strains. We found that variation is discrete, that neither phenotype is dominant, and that the strain difference is due predominantly to allelic differences at a single locus (Cfp-1) on chromosome 4. Incomplete penetrance of the simpler pattern suggests that this genetic locus interacts in a probabilistic manner with epigenetic mechanisms involved in morphogenesis of the cerebellum.