Cytoplasts from single spermatocytes of NZB/BinJ mice were separated from the nuclei and individually microinjected into B6D2F1 (C57BL/6 × DNBA/2J) hybrid embryos at the pronuclear stage (20 h after hCG injection). Of 363 zygotes injected, 311 (86%) survived and developed. From these experiments, we transferred 222 embryos into 20 pseudopregnant recipients. Eighteen (90%) became pregnant and 82 pups were born (37% of transfers). Mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA) from the NZB/BinJ strain lacks a RsaI restriction site and can thus be distinguished from the host embryo following PCR amplification. We were unable to detect the transferred mtDNA in blastocysts on day 4-5 after injection. Nor could we detect NZB/BinJ mtDNA in placentae, nor in tissues from mice born to host mothers following the transfer of blastocysts that developed from injected zygotes. Rejection of paternal mitochondria by the embryo normally occurs at the 4- to 8-cell stage in mice and is apparently dependent on mutual recognition between the mitochondria and the nuclear genome. We conclude that this mechanism has probably already developed by the time the germ cells have become committed to meiosis.