The dynamics of nuclear DNA synthesis were analysed in isolated microspores and pollen of Brassica napus that were induced to form embryos. DNA synthesis was visualized by the immunocytochemical labelling of incorporated Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), applied continuously or as a pulse during the first 24 h of culture under embryogenic (32 °C) and non-embryogenic (18 °C) conditions. Total DNA content of the nuclei was determined by microspectrophotometry. At the moment of isolation, microspore nuclei and nuclei of generative cells were at the G1, S or G2 phase. Vegetative nuclei of pollen were always in G1 at the onset of culture. When microspores were cultured at 18 °C, they followed the normal gametophytic development; when cultured at 32 °C, they divided symmetrically and became embryogenic or continued gametophytic development. Because the two nuclei of the symmetrically divided microspores were either both labelled with BrdU or not labelled at all, we concluded that microspores are inducible to form embryos from the G1 until the G2 phase. When bicellular pollen were cultured at 18 °C, they exhibited labelling exclusively in generative nuclei. This is comparable to the gametophytic development that occurs in vivo. Early bicellular pollen cultured at 32 °C, however, also exhibited replication in vegetative nuclei. The majority of vegetative nuclei re-entered the cell cycle after 12 h of culture. Replication in the vegetative cells preceded division of the vegetative cell, a prerequisite for pollen-derived embryogenesis.