Exciting new opportunities in embryo cloning have been made possible by recent studies on the interaction of the donor nucleus with the recipient cytoplasm after embryo reconstruction. This article reviews information regarding the co-ordination of nuclear and cytoplasmic events during embryo reconstruction, in particular the direct and indirect effects of maturation/ meiosis/mitosis-promoting factor (MPF), upon the transferred nucleus. This will be discussed in relation to DNA replication, the maintenance of correct ploidy, the occurrence of chromosomal abnormalities and development of reconstructed embryos. Although this review is primarily concerned with the reconstruction of mammalian embryos, specific examples from amphibians will also be cited. © 1996 Journals of Reproduction and Fertility.