Several media, some augmented with amino acids, have been formulated recently, based on simplex optimization, to support the preimplantation development of mouse embryos. For the highly limited studies on preimplantation development of nonhuman primate embryos, a complex medium (CMRL-1066) has been employed. Our objective was to compare the developmental ability of rhesus monkey embryos in a simple medium containing amino acids, KSOM/AA, with the complex media used previously. Zygotes (99) were recovered following in vitro fertilization (IVF) from six monkeys, allocated to either CMRL or KSOM/AA both containing 10% fetal calf serum (FCS), and monitored daily until reaching the expanded or hatched blastocyst stage. The distribution of cells between the inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm was determined at the end of culture by differential nuclear staining. Although a greater number of embryos cultured in KSOM/AA vs. CMRL developed to the morula stage (80%) and beyond (66% to expanded blastocyst), the differences were not significant. Such embryos in KSOM/AA did, however, develop at a significantly faster rate, on average, reaching the expanded blastocyst stage 26 hr earlier than did embryos cultured in CMRL. KSOM/AA embryos hatched in less time and had a higher percentage (43 vs. 34) of cells allocated to the ICM. These results indicate that a simple medium, KSOM/AA, in the presence of serum, supports the development of rhesus monkey embryos at high efficiency and at a faster rate than that observed for embryos cultured in the complex medium, CMRL-1066.