Regional variations of DNA GC content are observed in species as different as S.cerevisiae and humans. In vertebrates and yeast they are correlated with replication timing; late replicating chromosomal regions are more AT-rich than early replicating regions. We show here that gene composition in E.coli also has long range variations which are similarly correlated with replication timing. We suggest that the enrichment in AT base pairs in late replicating DNA reflects differences in DNA repair modes. These sequences, which are in single copy for a greater part of the cell cycle than origin-linked genes, have less opportunity to engage in repair via homologous recombination and therefore may resort more often to translesion synthesis involving the misincorporation of adenine opposite modified nucleotides.