Mouse eggs were activated by treatment with hyaluronidase which removed the follicle cells, followed by culture in vitro, and examined at the first cleavage mitosis. Second polar body extrusion usually occurred and haploid parthenogenesis was initiated. Air-dried chromosome preparations were made between 11 and 15.5 h after activation. Out of the 308 eggs examined 74 had already progressed to the 2-cell stage; the remaining 234 at the 1-cell stage were examined in detail. All chromosome preparations of the first cleavage mitosis were classified into groups corresponding with the stages of prometaphase, metaphase (early or ‘pre-chromatid’, ‘chromatid’ and ‘late chromatid’) and anaphase.
An indirect estimate was made of the duration of the first cleavage mitosis and of its component stages from the incidence of stages observed at different time intervals after activation. Similar eggs were also observed at 37 °C by time-lapse cine-photography and the interval between the disappearance of the pronucleus to the beginning of telophase of the first cleavage division was determined. The results of timing studies on the haploid eggs were compared with results obtained from similar observations on the first cleavage division of fertilized eggs which would of course normally be diploid.
Artificially activated eggs with 2 pronuclei, resulting from second polar body suppression, were also examined, and serial chromosome preparations during mitosis showed that the 2 pronuclear chromosome groups unite on the first cleavage spindle and divide to give a hetero-zygous diploid 2-cell embryo.