Planar cell polarity (PCP) refers to coordinated polarization of cells within the plane of a cell sheet. A conserved signaling pathway is required for the establishment of PCP in epithelial tissues and for polarized cellular rearrangements known as convergent extension. During PCP signaling, core PCP proteins are sorted asymmetrically along the polarization axis; this sorting is thought to direct coordinated downstream morphogenetic changes across the entire tissue. Here, we show that a gene encoding a ciliary protein (a 'ciliary gene'), Ift88, also known as Polaris, is required for establishing epithelial PCP and for convergent extension of the cochlear duct of Mus musculus. We also show that the proper positioning of ciliary basal bodies and the formation of polarized cellular structures are disrupted in mice with mutant ciliary proteins ('ciliary mutants'), whereas core PCP proteins are partitioned normally along the polarization axis. Thus, our data uncover a distinct requirement for ciliary genes in basal body positioning and morphological polarization during PCP regulation. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group.