To evaluate the effect of karyoplast-cytoplast ratio on the development of nuclear transfer embryos, karyoplasts from day 4, day 5, and day 6 embryos were transferred to oocytes enucleated with different volumes of cytoplasm: Type I, removal of a small volume of cytoplasm equivalent to the first polar body, Type 2, removal of a volume of cytoplasm approximately equal to the volume of the respective karyoplast, and Type 3, removal of half of the oocyte volume. In addition, the effect of experimental reduction of karyoplast cytoplasm was investigated in day 4 and day 5 karyoplasts. Intact day 4 karyoplasts fused to Type 3 cytoplasts did not support development to blastocysts, whereas these karyoplasts yielded blastocysts in combination with Type 1 (7%) and Type 2 cytoplasts (12%). After experimental reduction of cytoplasmic volume in day 4 karyoplasts, blastocysts (10%) were also obtained after fusion with Type 3 cytoplasts, probably due to reduction of cytoplasmic chimerism. With day 5 karyoplasts, blastocyst rate was higher in combination with Type 2 (34%) than with Type 1 (19%) and Type 3 cytoplasts (16%; P < 0.05). The use of day 6 intact karyoplasts resulted in a significantly (P < 0.05) higher proportion of blastocysts when fused with Type 2 (38%) or Type 1 cytoplasts (34%) than with Type 3 cytoplasts (16%). These results suggest that enucleation of oocytes with a volume similar to that of the respective karyoplast creates better conditions for cell cycle interactions with all types of karyoplasts than enucleation with minimal or large volume of cytoplasm. (C) 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.