The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family. FGF family members possess broad mitogenic and cell survival activities, and are involved in a variety of biological processes including embryonic development cell growth, morphogenesis, tissue repair, tumor growth and invasion. This growth factor is a high affinity, heparin dependent ligand for FGFR4. Expression of this gene was detected only in fetal but not adult brain tissue. Synergistic interaction of the chick homolog and Wnt-8c has been shown to be required for initiation of inner ear development.