Three kinds of improvements have been introduced into the M13-based cloning systems. (1) New Escherichia coli host strains have been constructed for the E. coli bacteriophage M13 and the high-copy-number pUC-plasmid cloning vectors. Mutations introduced into these strains improve cloning of unmodified DNA and of repetitive sequences. A new suppressorless strain facilitates the cloning of selected recombinants. (2) The complete nucleotide sequences of the M13mp and pUC vectors have been compiled from a number of sources, including the sequencing of selected segments. The M13mp18 sequence is revised to include the G-to-T substitution in its gene II at position 6 125 bp (in M13) or 6967 bp in M13mp18. (3) M13 clones suitable for sequencing have been obtained by a new method of generating unidirectional progressive deletions from the polycloning site using exonucleases HI and VII.