Purpose: Duodenal obstruction occurs in 1 of 6000 live births and requires urgent surgical intervention. Duodenal atresia previously has been ascribed to a developmental failure of luminal recanalization; however, the cause of duodenal atresia remains incompletely understood. Although familial intestinal atresias have been described and syndromic associations are known, no specific genetic link has been established. Fibroblast growth factor-10 (Fgf10) is a known regulatory molecule relevant to mesenchymal-epithelial interactions, and mice deficient in Fgf10 demonstrate congenital anomalies in several organ systems including the gastrointestinal tract. The authors hypothesized that Fgf10 could serve a regulatory role in establishing normal duodenal development. Methods: Wild-type mice with β-galactosidase under the control of the Fgf10 promoter were harvested from timed-pregnancy mothers. The expression of Fgf10 in the duodenum during development was evaluated by developing the embryos in X-Gal solution. Wild-type and mutant Fgf10-/- embryos were harvested from timed-pregnancy mothers at 18.5 days postconception (near term) and were analyzed for duodenal morphology (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee-approved protocol 32-02). Photomicrographs were reviewed. Results: Fibroblast growth factor-10 is active in the duodenum at a late stage of development. The Fgf10-/- mutants demonstrate duodenal atresia with a variable phenotype similar to clinical findings. The duodenum fails to develop luminal continuity and has proximal dilation. The phenotype occurs in an autosomal recessive pattern with incomplete penetrance (38%). Conclusions: Fibroblast growth factor-10 serves as a regulator in normal duodenal growth and development. Its deletion leads to duodenal atresia and challenges traditionally accepted theories of pathogenesis. This novel, genetically mediated duodenal malformation reflects an animal model that will allow further evaluation of the pathogenesis of this surgically correctable disease. By studying the mechanism of Fgf10 function in foregut development, the authors hope to better understand these anomalies and to explore possible therapeutic alternatives.