Primordial germ cells of the mouse cultured on feeder layers with leukemia inhibitory factor, Steel factor and basic fibroblast growth factor give rise to cells that resemble undifferentiated blastocyst-derived embryonic stem cells. These primordial germ cell-derived embryonic germ cells can be induced to differentiate extensively in culture, form teratocarcinomas when injected into nude mice and contribute to chimeras when injected into host blastocysts. Here, we report the derivation of multiple embryonic germ cell lines from 8.5 days post coitum embryos of C57BL/6 inbred mice. Four independent embryonic germ cell lines with normal male karyotypes have formed chimeras when injected into BALB/c host blastocysts and two of these lines have transmitted coat color markers through the germline. We also show that pluripotent cell lines capable of forming teratocarcinomas and coat color chimeras can be established from primordial germ cells of 8.0 days p.c. embryos and 12.5 days p.c. genital ridges. We have examined the methylation status of the putative imprinting box of the insulin-like growth factor type 2 receptor gene (Igf2r) in these embryonic germ cell lines. No correlation was found between methylation pattern and germline competence. A significant difference was observed between embryonic stem cell and embryonic germ cell lines in their ability to maintain the methylation imprint of the Igf2r gene in culture. This may illustrate a fundamental difference between these two cell types.