The human beta-globin locus control region (LCR) controls the transcription, chromatin structure, and replication timing of the entire locus. DNA replication was found to initiate in a transcription-independent manner within a region located 50 kilobases downstream of the LCR in human, mouse, and chicken cells containing the entire human beta-globin locus. However, DNA replication did not initiate within a deletion mutant locus lacking the sequences that encompass the LCR. This mutant locus replicated in the 3' to 5' direction. Thus, interactions between distantly separated sequences can be required for replication initiation, and factors mediating this interaction appear to be conserved in evolution.