An autonomously replicating segment, ARS, is located 293 base pairs downstream from the histone H4 gene at the copy-I H3-H4 locus. The sequences needed for autonomous replication were defined by deletion analysis to include an ARS consensus sequence and an additional 3'-flanking region. External deletions into the 3'-flanking yeast sequences resulted in a loss of replication function. However, disruptions of the required 3'-flanking domain by either 10-base-pair linker-scanning substitutions or larger internal deletions did not impair autonomous replication. Thus, replication is dependent upon a flanking chromosome domain, but not an exact DNA sequence. The extent of the yeast sequences required in the 3'-flanking domain is variable depending on the nature of neighboring plasmid vector sequences. That is, there are certain vector sequences that prohibit replication when they are placed too close to the ARS consensus. These results suggest that the functional 3'-flanking domain of the H4 ARS is a specific DNA or chromatin structure or both.