Explants of normal mouse embryonic tissues and disaggregated embryonic single cells were cultured in vitro to study the erythropoietic progenitor cells present during embryonic development. The results indicate that there are two populations of erythropoietic progenitor cells committed to different hemoglobin synthetic programs. These progenitor cells are present at an early gestational stage prior to the formation of the fetal hepatic primordium. One population of progenitors can be stimulated by erythropoietin alone to form usually small erythroid colonies after culture for six days in vitro. These erythroblasts primarily synthesize embryonic hemoglobins, but produce some adult hemoglobins as well. The other population of progenitors requires stimulation by both erythropoietin and adult spleen cell- conditioned medium, and usually forms large erythroid colonies after culture for six days in vitro. These erythroblasts produce only adult hemoglobins.