Origins of DNA replication

PLoS Genet. 2019 Sep 12;15(9):e1008320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008320. eCollection 2019 Sep.


In all kingdoms of life, DNA is used to encode hereditary information. Propagation of the genetic material between generations requires timely and accurate duplication of DNA by semiconservative replication prior to cell division to ensure each daughter cell receives the full complement of chromosomes. DNA synthesis of daughter strands starts at discrete sites, termed replication origins, and proceeds in a bidirectional manner until all genomic DNA is replicated. Despite the fundamental nature of these events, organisms have evolved surprisingly divergent strategies that control replication onset. Here, we discuss commonalities and differences in replication origin organization and recognition in the three domains of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Replication Origin / genetics*
  • Replicon / genetics

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Novartis Research Foundation and the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (ERC-STG-757909). The funders had no role in the preparation of the article.