Long- and Short-Sleep (LS and SS) mice were selectively bred for differences in ethanol-induced loss of the righting reflex (LORR) and have been found to differ in LORR induced by various anesthetic agents. We used a two-stage mapping strategy to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting duration of LORR caused by the general anesthetic etomidate and brain levels of etomidate (BEL) following regain of the righting reflex. Analysis of recombinant-inbred strains derived from a cross between LS and SS mice (LSXSS) yielded a heritability estimate of 0.23 for etomidate-induced LORR and identified one marker that showed suggestive linkage for a QTL, on mouse Chromosome (chr) 12. Mapping in an F(2) population derived from a cross between inbred LS and SS (ILS and ISS) revealed a significant QTL for etomidate-induced LORR on Chr 12, and two significant QTLs mediating BEL on Chrs 6 and 12. Several QTLs showing suggestive linkage for etomidate-induced LORR and BEL were also identified in the F(2) population. Brain levels of etomidate in the RI and F(2) mice suggested that differences in LORR were due to differential central nervous system sensitivity, rather than differential etomidate metabolism. Interestingly, the region on Chr 7 has also been identified as a region influencing ethanol-induced LORR, suggesting the possibility of a common genetic mechanism mediating etomidate and ethanol sensitivity. These QTL regions need to be further narrowed before the testing of candidate genes is feasible.