Circletail (Crc) is a new mouse mutant that exhibits a severe form of neural tube defect, craniorachischisis, in which almost the entire neural tube fails to close. This phenotype is seen in very few other mutants, the best characterized of which is loop-tail (Ltap(Lp), referred to hereafter as Lp). We tested the possibility of allelism between Lp and Crc by intercrossing Lp/+ and Crc/+mice. A proportion of double heterozygotes (Lp/+,Crc/+) exhibit craniorachischisis, revealing failure of complementation. However, genetic analysis shows that Crc is not linked to the markers that flank the Lp locus and cannot, therefore, be an allele of Lp. A genome-wide scan has localized the Crc gene to a region of 8.8 cM on central chromosome 15. Partial penetrance of the craniorachischisis phenotype in Crc/+,Lp/+double heterozygotes suggests the existence of a third, unlinked genetic locus that influences the interaction between Crc and Lp.