We describe a new mouse frameshift mutation (Pax2(1Neu)) with a 1-bp insertion in the Pax2 gene. This mutation is identical to a previously described mutation in a human family with renal-coloboma syndrome [Sanyanusin, P., McNoe, L. A., Sullivan, M. J., Weaver, R. G. & Eccles, M. R. (1995) Hum. Mol. Genet. 4, 2183-2184]. Heterozygous mutant mice exhibit defects in the kidney, the optic nerve, and retinal layer of the eye, and in homozygous mutant embryos, development of the optic nerve, metanephric kidney, and ventral regions of the inner ear is severely affected. In addition, we observe a deletion of the cerebellum and the posterior mesencephalon in homozygous mutant embryos demonstrating that, in contrast to mutations in Pax5, which is also expressed early in the mid-hindbrain region, loss of Pax2 gene function alone results in the early loss of the mid-hindbrain region. The mid-hindbrain phenotype is similar to Wnt1 and En1 mutant phenotypes, suggesting the conservation of gene regulatory networks between vertebrates and Drosophila.