Sequence analysis of three IS200 elements (two from Salmonella typhimurium, one from Salmonella abortusovis) reveals a highly conserved structure, with a length of 707-708 bp and absence of terminal repeats. IS200 contains an open-reading-frame (ORF) which potentially encodes a peptide of 151 amino acids, with a putative ribosome-binding-site properly placed upstream of the ORF. A potential RNA stem-loop structure that might occlude the ribosome-binding-site of the ORF is also found. Another conserved trait is a potential RNA hairpin which resembles a Rho-independent transcription terminator, located near one end of IS200. The junctions between IS200 and host DNA sequences are A+T-rich. Upon insertion, IS200 duplicates 1-2 bp of host DNA sequences. The observation that IS200 elements characterized as 'hops' are roughly identical to those residing in the Salmonella genome suggests that IS200 transposition is unlikely to generate inactive copies. If such is the case and many or all IS200 elements are active, the extremely low frequency of IS200 transposition may reflect the normal behavior of the element.