It has previously been shown that XO mouse fetuses with a paternally derived X chromosome (Xp) are developmentally retarded and consequently smaller than their XX sibs, and that XX fetuses are retarded when compared with their XY sibs. The genetic basis for these early XO-XX and XX-XY differences has not been determined. Here we show that 10.5 day post coitum XO mouse fetuses with a maternal X chromosome, rather than being smaller than their XX sibs, are significantly larger and equivalent in size to their XY sibs. Thus the retardation of XpO fetuses must be due to an effect of their paternally derived X chromosome. The finding that XmO fetuses are larger than XX fetuses and equivalent in size to XY fetuses suggests that the XX-XY difference present at 10.5 days post coitum is largely due to the difference in X chromosome constitution rather than to a Ychromosome effect.

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