In the frog, Xenopus laevis, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling is required for both mesoderm formation and the morphogenetic movements that drive the elongation of the notochord, a dorsal mesodermal derivative; the coordination of these distinct roles is mediated by the Xenopus Ctr1 (Xctr1) protein: maternal Xctr1 is required for mesodermal differentiation, while the subsequent loss of Xctr1 promotes morphogenesis. The signaling cascade activated by FGF in the presence of Ctr1 has been well characterized; however, the Xctr1-independent, FGF-responsive network remains poorly defined. We have identified Xenopus Marginal Coil (Xmc) as a gene whose expression is highly enriched following Xctr1 knockdown. Zygotic initiation of Xmc expression in vivo coincides with a decrease in maternal Xctr1 transcripts; moreover, Xmc loss-of-function inhibits Xctr1 knockdown-mediated elongation of FGF-treated animal cap explants, implicating Xmc as a key effector of Xctr1-independent gastrular morphogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 238:2382–2400, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.