Medaka twist, a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor, is expressed in the sclerotome during embryogenesis. We previously established a line of twist-EGFP transgenic medaka, whose EGFP expression is regulated by the twist promoter; therefore, we could observe the behavior of sclerotomal cells in vivo. In the transgenic medaka embryos, EGFP-positive sclerotomal cells migrated dorsally around the notochord and the neural tube, where at a later stage the vertebral column would be formed. This finding strongly suggests that twist-expressing sclerotomal cells participate in vertebral column formation in medaka. To clarify the function of twist gene in the sclerotome, we performed knockdown analysis of twist by using two kinds of morpholino antisense oligonucleotides targeted against twist (MO1 and MO2). Both the MO1 and MO2 morphants exhibited absence of neural arches, which are bilaterally paired, dorsomedially oriented bones on the dorsal aspect of the centrum. In addition, MO2, which blocks translation of only endogenous twist mRNA in the twist-EGFP transgenic medaka, did not affect the migration pattern of EGFP-positive cells, revealing that the migration of sclerotome-derived cells were normal in the absence of twist gene function. These results demonstrate that medaka twist functions in vertebral column formation by regulating the sclerotomal cell differentiation.