Phox2b is an essential transcription factor for the development of the autonomic nervous system. Mice carrying one invalidated Phox2b allele (Phox2b(+/-)) show mild autonomic disorders including sleep apneas, and impairments in chemosensitivity and thermoregulation that recover within 10days of postnatal age. Because Phox2b is not expressed above the pons nor in the cerebellum, this mutation is not expected to affect brain development and cognitive functioning directly. However, the transient physiological disorders in Phox2b(+/-) mice might impair neurodevelopment. To examine this possibility, we conducted a behavioral test battery of emotional, motor, and cognitive functioning in adult Phox2b(+/-) mice and their wildtype littermates (Phox2b(+/+)). Adult Phox2b(+/-) mice showed altered exploratory behavior in the open field and in the elevated plus maze, both indicative of anxiety. Phox2b(+/-) mice did not show cognitive or motor impairments. These results suggest that also mild autonomic control deficits may disturb long-term emotional development.