Teleost fish are distinguished by their enormous potential for the generation of new cells in both the intact and the injured adult brain. Here, we present evidence that these cells are a genetic mosaic caused by somatic genomic alteration. Metaphase chromosome spreads from whole brains of the teleost Apteronotus leptorhynchus revealed an euploid complement of 22 chromosomes in only 22% of the cells examined. The rate of aneuploidy is substantially higher in brain cells than in liver cells, as shown by both metaphase chromosome spreads and flow cytometric analysis. Among the aneuploid cells in the brain, approximately 84% had fewer, and the remaining 16% more, than 22 chromosomes. Typically, multiple chromosomes were lost or gained. The aneuploidy is putatively caused by segregation defects during mitotic division. Labeling of condensed chromosomes of M-phase cells by phosphorylated histone-H3 revealed laggards, anaphase bridges, and micronuclei, all three of which indicate displaced mitotic chromosomes. Quantitative analysis has shown that in the entire brain on average 14% of all phosphorylated histone-H3-labeled cells exhibit such signs of segregation defects. Together with the recent discovery of aneuploidy in the adult mammalian brain, the results of the present investigation suggest that the loss or gain of chromosomes might provide a mechanism to regulate gene expression during development of new cells in the adult vertebrate brain.