The zygotic expression of the eve1 gene is restricted to the ventral and lateral cells of the marginal zone. At later stages, the mRNAs are localized in the most posterior part of the extending tail tip. An eve1 clone (pcZf14), containing a poly-A tail, has been isolated. In order to address eve1 gene function, pcZf14 transcript injections into zebrafish embryos have been performed. The injection into uncleaved eggs of a synthetic eve1 mRNA (12 pg), which encodes a protein of approximately 28 kd, produces embryos with anterior-posterior (A-P) axis defects and the formation of additional axial structures. The first category of 24 h phenotypes (87%) mainly displays a gradual decrease in anterior structures. This is comparable to previous phenotypes observed following Xhox3 messenger injection either in Xenopus or in zebrafish that have been classified according to the index of axis deficiency (zf-IAD). These phenotypes result in anomalies of the development of the neural keel, from microphthalmia to acephaly. The second category (13%) corresponds to the phenotypes described above together with truncal or caudal supernumerary structures. Additional truncal structures are the most prominent of these duplicated phenotypes, displaying a "zipper" shape of axial structures including neural keels and notochords. Caudal duplication presents no evident axis supernumerary structures. The observation of these phenotypes suggests an important role for the eve1 gene in mesodermal cell specification and in the development of the posterior region, and more particularly of the most posterior tail tip where endogenous eve1 messengers are found.