Immunofluorescent analysis of markers specific for parental genomes was used to study heterokaryons and hybrid cells soon after the fusion of diploid embryonic stem (ES) cells marked with green fluorescent protein and diploid fibroblasts labeled by blue fluorescent beads. Heterokaryons were identified by an analysis of parental mitochondrial DNAs. Within 20 h after fusion, most heterokaryons (up to 80%) had a fibroblast-like phenotype, being positive for typical fibroblast markers (collagen type I, fibronectin, lamin A/C) and for the modification me3H3K27 chromatin marking the inactive X chromosome but being negative for Oct4 and Nanog. Approximately 20% of heterokaryons had an alternative ES-like phenotype being positive for Oct4 and Nanog, with signs of reactivation of the previously inactive X-chromosome but negative for fibroblast markers. Hybrid cells having alternative phenotypes were easily identified from 24-48 h. The level of DNA methylation at the promoter of the fibroblast Oct4 allele in the ES-like hybrid cells at day 4 was similar to that of ES cells but at the same time, both parental Oct4 alleles were heavily methylated in fibroblast-like hybrid cells. Thus, bidirectional reprogramming initiated at the heterokaryon stage seems to lead to the formation of two types of hybrid cells with alternative dominance of the parental genomes. However, the further fates of two types of hybrid cells are different: ES-like hybrid cells form colonies at 4-6 days but no colonies are derived from the fibroblast-like hybrid cells. The latter grow as disconnected single cells and are unable to form colonies, like mouse embryonic fibroblasts.