The effects of plasmid replication on the frequency of homologous recombination have been investigated. For that purpose Bacillus subtilis strains that carry in their chromosome directly repeated DNA sequences, and an integrated copy of plasmid pE194 either proximal or distal to the repeats, were constructed. The repeat consists either of 3.9 X 10(3) base pBR322 sequences or 2.1 X 10(3) base B. subtilis chromosomal sequences. As plasmid pE194 is naturally thermosensitive for replication, the activity of the replicon could be regulated. Recombination between the repeated sequences was infrequent (about 10(-4) per generation) when the integrated plasmid did not replicate. It was 20 to 450 times higher when the plasmid was allowed to replicate, provided that the repeats were in the proximity of the plasmid. These results show that plasmid replication stimulates DNA recombination.