We have used an insertional mutagenesis/gene tagging technique to generate new Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants that are defective in assembly of the outer dynein arm. Among 39 insertional oda mutants characterized, two are alleles of the previously uncloned ODA3 gene, one is an allele of the uncloned ODA 10 gene, and one represents a novel ODA gene (termed ODA12). ODA3 is of particular interest because it is essential for assembly of both the outer dynein arm and the outer dynein arm docking complex (ODA-DC) onto flagellar doublet microtubules (Takada, S., and R. Kamiya. 1994. J. Cell Biol. 126:737-745). Beginning with the inserted DNA as a tag, the ODA3 gent and a full-length cDNA were cloned. The cloned gene rescues the phenotype of oda3 mutants. The cDNA sequence predicts a novel 83.4-kD protein with extensive coiled-coil domains. The ODA-DC contains three polypeptides; direct amino acid sequencing indicates that the largest of these polypeptides corresponds to ODA3. This protein is likely to have an important role in the precise positioning of the outer dynein arms on the flagellar axoneme.