A colored phenotype is an important feature of ornamental fish. In mammals, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) was found to regulate the development of melanocytes. In this study, the mitfa cDNA was first cloned from the Japanese ornamental (Koi) carp (Cyprinus carpio L.), an important ornamental freshwater fish. The full-length cDNA of the mitfa gene contains 1634 bp, coding for 412 amino acids in Koi. The identity degree of mitfa amino acid sequences between the Koi carp and zebrafish is 92.9%.