undulated (un) homozygous mice exhibit vertebral malformations along the entire rostro-caudal axis. Pax 1, a murine paired box-containing gene, is expressed in ventral sclerotome cells and later in intervertebral disks along the entire vertebral column. We localized the Pax 1 gene on chromosome 2 between beta 2-microglobulin and the agouti locus to an area where un maps. DNA analysis of the un mutant revealed a point mutation in a highly conserved part of the paired box of Pax 1, leading to a Gly-Ser replacement. The chromosomal location and the mutation in the paired box of un mice in conjunction with Pax 1 gene expression in wild-type mice implicate a causative role of Pax 1 in generation of the vertebral column.