Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 November 2001
Karyotyping and cell number estimates in preimplantation embryos from heterogametic (XY*) and homogametic (XX) females of the field mouse Akodon azarae were studied to determine whether XX-XY-XY* differences exist in the rate of preimplantation development. At the morula stage, XY embryos from heterogametic mothers had twice the mean number of cells compared with XX embryos. However, this difference in cell numbers was not seen between XX and XY embryos from homogametic mothers. In this case, mean cell numbers were similar despite embryos being XX or XY. Furthermore, the mean cell number for XX and XY morulae from homogametic females was comparable to that for XX embryos from heterogametic females. It is concluded that XY* embryos (which will develop into heterogametic females) show an accelerated rate of preimplantation development.