The pairing characteristics of the X axis in XO human and mouse oocytes were studied by the spreading technique throughout meiotic prophase. In three human XO foetuses, germ cell development was seen to be largely blocked at the preleptotene stage. In XO mice on the other hand, oocytes surviving through pachytene increasingly show the X axis making a non-homologous association with itself or with an autosome. Such associations take the form hairpins or rings when self pairing occurs or triradial structures when involvement is with an autosome. Pairing initiation in the autosomes involved is disturbed by the X axis suggesting that the heterologous pairing seen is taking place at the earliest stage of synaptonemal complex formation, namely zygotene. It is suggested, that in the XO mouse, and perhaps also in rare fertile XO humans, survival, of a population of oocytes into the adult is ensured by the ability of the X axis to pair non-homologously at meiotic prophase, thus satisfying pairing requirements.