[en] Exposing day 5 bovine morulae to reactive oxygen species induces a delayed degeneration of some blastocysts on day 8 post-insemination (pi) but without affecting the blastocyst rates. The aim of this study was to characterize the resisting and the degenerating population of blastocysts. The kinetics of degeneration of the embryos exposed to the two pro-oxidant agents: 2,2'-azobis (2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH) and buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) was evaluated using time-lapse cinematography. With both agents the first signs of degeneration appeared at day 7.5 pi but the duration of the degeneration process was shorter in presence of AAPH than BSO (4.2 vs. 12.5 hr, ANOVA, P < 0.05). The resisting blastocysts derived from morulae with a larger diameter (mean diameter: 161 vs. 154 microm, ANOVA, P < 0.05) and showed an earlier cavitation (135 vs. 142 hpi, P < 0.05) than the degenerating ones. The profile of protein neosynthesis at day 7 was not affected by the treatment. The proportion of male embryos was more important in the resisting than in the degenerating population (70 vs. 55%, chi2, P < 0.05) especially when the stress was induced by AAPH. The quality of the resisting embryos, measured by the total cell number and the rate of apoptosis, did not seem to be affected when compared to control embryos. In conclusion, resistance to oxidative stress seems related to the kinetics of development and/or the sex of the embryos. Resisting embryos apparently display a quality similar to untreated embryos.