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Helena Fulka, Milan Mrazek, Olga Tepla, and Josef Fulka Jr

We report on observations of the global methylation/demethylation pattern of both pronuclei in human zygotes and in early embryos up to the blastocyst stage. Our results demonstrate that in about half of the zygotes examined the paternal chromatin was less methylated than the maternal chromatin. In the other half, both pronuclei exhibited the same intensity of labeling. The nuclei in developing embryos were intensively labeled for up to the four-cell stage; thereafter, a decline of labeling intensity was detected. Remethylation in some nuclei starts in late morulae. Surprisingly, and unlike the mouse, at the blastocyst stage the inner cell mass showed a weaker intensity of labeling than the trophectodermal cells.