Follicular oocytes were examined at various times preceding ovulation. The timing of the preovulatory changes was established in relation to the `critical period' and to ovulation time. The earliest detectable change in the oocyte, loss of the germinal vesicle and the nucleolus, occurred about 2 hr after the presumed time of lh release, or about 9 hr before ovulation. The first polar body was extruded about 4 hr before ovulation. The morphology of the dictyate oocyte as revealed by interference contrast microscopy is described.
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