A series of nic- cloning vectors have been constructed analogous to the pUC plasmids but which are smaller in size and carry more extensive polylinker regions within the lacZ' gene. The vectors pMTL20 and pMTL21 carry six additional sites (AatII, MluI, NcoI, BglII, XhoI and StuI) to those present in pUC18 and pUC19, while pMTL22 and -23 possess eleven new cloning sites (ActII, MluI, NcoI, BglII, XhoI, StuI, NaeI, EcoRV, ClaI, NdeI and NruI). More importantly, the relative order of the restriction sites within the polylinker of these latter vectors has been totally rearranged, relative to pUC18 and pUC19, to facilitate the conversion of DNA fragments with incompatible ends to fragments with compatible termini. The availability of such DNA fragments is a crucial requirement when M13 templates are generated for dideoxy sequencing by the sonication procedure. Derivatives of these vectors have also been constructed which demonstrate improved segregational stability by incorporation of the pSC101 par locus. During the construction of these new vectors data were obtained which demonstrated that the pUC and pMTL plasmids contain a previously unreported single base pair difference within the RNA I/RNA II region (compared to pBR322) responsible for a three-fold increase in plasmid copy number. The pUC and pMTL plasmids were also shown to be functionally nic-, thus affording the lowest categorisation in genetic manipulation experiments.