The events resulting in compaction have an important influence on the processes related to blastocyst formation. To analyse the quality of the embryos obtained by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in aspects different from previous studies, not only the number of blastomeres of cloned embryos during the initiation of compaction, but also the distribution of microvilli in cloned, normal, parthenogenetic, and tetraploid embryos before and after compaction was preliminarily investigated in mouse. Our results showed that during compaction the number of blastomeres in SCNT embryos was fewer than that in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) embryos and, before compaction, there was a uniform distribution of microvilli over the blastomere surface, but microvilli became restricted to an apical region after compaction in the four types of embryos. We also reported here that the time course of compaction in SCNT embryos was about 3 h delayed compared with that in ICSI embryos, while there was no significant difference between SCNT and ICSI embryos when developed to the 4-cell stage. We concluded that: (i) the cleavage of blastomeres in cloned embryos was slow at least before compaction; (ii) the distribution of microvilli in cloned, normal, parthenogenetic, and tetraploid embryos was coherent before and after compaction; and (iii) the initiation of compaction in SCNT embryos was delayed compared with that of ICSI embryos.