The Msx-1 gene (formerly known as Hox-7) is a member of a discrete subclass of homeobox-containing genes. Examination of the expression pattern of Msx-1 in murine and avian embryos suggests that this gene may be involved in the regionalization of the medio-lateral axis during earlier development. We have examined the possible functions of Xenopus Msx-1 during early Xenopus embryonic development by overexpression of the Msx-1 gene. Overexpression of Msx-1 causes a left-right mirror-image duplication of primary axial structures, including notochord, neural tube, somites, suckers, and foregut. The embryonic developing heart is also mirror-image duplicated, including looping directions and polarity. These results indicate that Msx-1 may be involved in the mesoderm formation as well as left-right patterning in the early Xenopus embryonic development.