In rats, respiratory neurons in the medulla oblongata are arranged in longitudinally distributed groups that are duplicated on each side of the neuraxis. Our aim was to determine whether respiratory rhythm is generated independently by each side. We made a complete mid-sagittal section of the medulla oblongata, 3.5 mm rostral and 3.5 mm caudal to the obex, in decerebrate, vagotomized, and paralysed adult rats. Respiratory rhythm, monitored by recording the activity of both left and right phrenic nerves, was maintained and became asynchronous between the left and right sides. We concluded that in the adult rat each half of the medulla oblongata is capable of generating respiratory rhythm independently.