Previous studies have shown that tetraploid (4n) cells rarely contribute to the derivatives of the epiblast lineage of mid-gestation 4n<-->2n mouse chimeras. The aim of the present study was to determine when and how 4n cells were excluded from the epiblast lineage of such chimeras. The contributions of GFP-positive cells to different tissues of 4n<-->2n chimeric blastocysts labelled with tauGFP were analysed at E3.5 and E4.5 using confocal microscopy. More advanced E5.5 and E7.5 chimeric blastocysts were analysed after a period of diapause to allow further growth without implantation. Tetraploid cells were not initially excluded from the epiblast in 4n<-->2n chimeric blastocysts and they contributed to all four blastocyst tissues at all of the blastocyst stages examined. Four steps affected the allocation and fate of 4n cells in chimeras, resulting in their exclusion from the epiblast lineage by mid-gestation. (1) Fewer 4n cells were allocated to the inner cell mass than trophectoderm. (2) The blastocyst cavity tended to form among the 4n cells, causing more 4n cells to be allocated to the hypoblast and mural trophectoderm than the epiblast and polar trophectoderm, respectively. (3) 4n cells were depleted from the hypoblast and mural trophectoderm, where initially they were relatively enriched. (4) After implantation 4n cells must be lost preferentially from the epiblast lineage. Relevance of these results to the aetiology of human confined placental mosaicism and possible implications for the interpretation of mouse tetraploid complementation studies of the site of gene action are discussed.