The study of developmental patterning has been facilitated by the availability of mutations that produce changes in cell fate, in animals such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. We now describe a zygotic lethal mutation in the zebrafish, Brachydanio rerio, that also changes how particular embryonic cells develop. Severe pattern deficiencies are observed that are restricted to a single body region, the trunk. The mutation may directly affect mesoderm, as somites do not form in the trunk. Head and tail structures, including tail somites, are relatively undisturbed. The earliest detected expression of the mutation is during gastrulation, when movements of mesodermal cells occur incorrectly. We injected prospective trunk mesodermal cells with lineage tracer dye and observed that in mutants these cells may enter a new body region, the tail, and there may express a new fate appropriate for the changed position.