Retrotransposons are transposable elements that insert extra copies of themselves throughout the genome via an RNA intermediate using a 'copy and paste' mechanism. They account for more than 44% of the bovine genome and have been reported to be functional, especially during preimplantation embryo development. In the present study, we tested whether high oxygen tension (20% O2) influences global DNA methylation analysed by immunofluorescence staining of developing bovine embryos and whether this has an effect on the expression of some selected retrotransposon families. High oxygen tension significantly increased global DNA methylation in 4-cell embryos and blastocysts. A significant expression difference was observed for ERV1-1-I_BT in female blastocysts, but no significant changes were observed for the other retrotransposon families tested. Therefore, the study indicates that global DNA methylation is not necessarily correlated with retrotransposon expression in bovine preimplantation embryos.