Antigen receptor gene rearrangement is mediated by interactions between the VDJ recombinase and the recombination signal sequences that flank the antigen receptor gene segments. In this report I present phylogenetic analyses that suggest a remarkable evolutionary conservation of the recombination signal sequences flanking some of the orthologous T-cell receptor-beta locus gene segments between human and mouse. Comparison of published data on the usage of the same gene segments between human and mouse indicates similar conservation in the shape of the primary T-cell receptor-beta repertoire. I propose that interactions between the recombinase and its cognate recognition sequences play a hitherto underestimated role in the formation of the specific pattern of the primary, combinatorial antigen receptor repertoire and that this pattern appears to be conserved in diverse mammalian species. Generation of a conserved pattern of the primary T-cell receptor repertoire may be critical for efficient selection of immature T lymphocytes.