DNA synthesis is an accurate and very processive phenomenon, yet chromosome replication does not proceed at a constant rate and progression of the replication fork can be impeded. Several structural and functional features of the template can modulate the rate of progress of the replication fork. These include DNA secondary structures, DNA damage and occupied protein-binding sites. In addition, prokaryotes contain sites where replication is specifically arrested. DNA regions at which the replication machinery is blocked or transiently slowed could be particularly susceptible to genome rearrangements. Illegitimate recombination, a ubiquitous phenomenon which may have dramatic consequences, occurs by a variety of mechanisms. The observation that some rearrangements might be facilitated by a pause in replication could provide a clue in elucidating these processes. In support of this, some homologous and illegitimate recombination events have already been correlated with replication pauses or arrest sites.