Xenopus oocytes and embryos present a model system for understanding the interface between cell cycle controls and developmental decisions. Maturation of an oocyte into an egg is a developmental switch triggered by a hormone that encompasses precise controls on M phase entry and M phase exit. Pre- and post-MBT embryos exemplify a switch from maternal to zygotic control of the cell cycle. MBT embryos provide a developmental system to study the stepwise establishment of cell cycle checkpoints and the connection of signalling pathways to regulation of cell cycle progression. Further work in the Xenopus system should continue to provide fundamental insights into the interface between cell cycle control and developmental decisions.

We thank Eleanor Erikson for a critical reading of this manuscript. Work in this laboratory is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (GM26743 and DK28353) and by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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