Escherichia coli cells deficient in RecA protein frequently contain an abnormal number of chromosomes after completion of ongoing rounds of DNA replication. This suggests that RecA protein may be required for correct timing of initiation of DNA replication; however, we show here that initiation of DNA replication is properly timed in recA mutants. We also find that more than 10% of recA mutant cells contain no DNA. These anucleate cells appear to arise from partitioning of all the DNA into one daughter cell and no DNA into the other daughter cell. Based on these and previously published results, we propose that RecA protein is required for equal partitioning of chromosomes into the two daughter cells.