Selective labelling of polar trophectoderm cells in early mouse blastocysts has allowed the fate of polar cells to be followed during in vitro and in vivo blastocyst development. Results show that there is cell movement from polar to mural regions as blastocysts grow. This indicates that trophectoderm cells directly opposite the inner cell mass are the oldest mural cells. However, after implantation polar cells invaginate into the blastocoelic cavity and contribute to the extra-embryonic ectoderm. It is suggested that the morphogenetic changes occurring in the mouse embryo at implantation result from the maintenance of a balance between (a) regional differences in rates of cellular proliferation, and (b) mechanical constraints on the direction in which growth can occur.