Differential mRNA expression patterns were evaluated between germinal vesicle oocytes (pgvo), four-cell (p4civv), blastocyst (pblivv), and in vitro-produced four-cell (p4civp) and in vitro-produced blastocyst (pblivp) stage embryos to determine key transcripts responsible for early embryonic development in the pig. Five comparisons were made: pgvo to p4civv, p4civv to pblivv, pgvo to pblivv, p4civv to p4civp, and pblivv to pblivp. ANOVA (P < 0.05) was performed with the Benjamini and Hochberg false-discovery-rate multiple correction test on each comparison. A comparison of pgvo to p4civv, p4civv to pblivv, and pgvo to pblivv resulted in 3214, 1989, and 4528 differentially detected cDNAs, respectively. Real-time PCR analysis on seven transcripts showed an identical pattern of changes in expression as observed on the microarrays, while one transcript deviated at a single cell stage. There were 1409 and 1696 differentially detected cDNAs between the in vitro- and in vivo-produced embryos at the four-cell and blastocyst stages, respectively, without the Benjamini and Hochberg false-discovery-rate multiple correction test. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis on four genes at the four-cell stage showed an identical pattern of gene expression as found on the microarrays. Real-time PCR analysis on four of five genes at the blastocyst stage showed an identical pattern of gene expression as found on the microarrays. Thus, only 1 of the 39 comparisons of the pattern of gene expression exhibited a major deviation between the microarray and the real-time PCR. These results illustrate the complex mechanisms involved in pig early embryonic development.