The microfilament inhibitor cytochalasin D inhibits extrusion of the first polar body when present during the first meiotic division of mouse oocytes; however, it does not interfere with anaphase movement of chromosomes, and thus induces the formation of tetraploid oocytes. After the separation of chromosomes in anaphase, two spindles start to assemble. However, they merge rapidly and a single meiotic spindle forms. During the transition between metaphase I and metaphase II, in the presence of cytochalasin D, a drop in histone kinase activity takes place demonstrating a transitional decrease in the activity of the maturation promoting factor. These oocytes can be activated parthenogenetically a few hours after washing out the inhibitor. After completion of the second meiotic division and extrusion of a polar body, they contain a diploid number of chromosomes. They are genetically identical to each other and to their mother. Such eggs develop to the blastocyst stage and can implant in the uteri of foster mothers. Most of these fetuses die before the 9th day of gestation, as do diploid control fetuses treated with cytochalasin D during the second meiotic division. The heterozygous state of the experimental embryos obtained after activation of eggs recovered from heterozygous females and treated with cytochalasin D during the first meiotic division was confirmed using a glucose-phosphate isomerase assay. This technique allows the production of genetic clones of parthenogenetic embryos by simple means.

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