Partial sequencing of a genomic library of the virulence plasmid of Salmonella enteritidis has been used to localize in the restriction map of this plasmid the genetic loci already described in other Salmonella plasmids. The comparison of the vestigial tra region with the corresponding genes in the F plasmid allowed us to define the extent of the deletions that the S. enteritidis plasmid should have suffered. The putative replicons of the plasmid, repB and repC, were isolated and both proved to be functional in Escherichia coli, but repC was segregationally unstable. The nucleotide sequence of repB showed the typical organization of RepFIIA replicons, although the similarity was lower than usual in this group of replicons. The highest homology was found with the replicon of the virulence plasmid pYVe439-80 from Yersinia enterocolitica (72.5%). Replicon repC also showed a maximum identity of 72.6% with known replicons, namely the RepFIB of pColV-K30 and P307, both virulence plasmids isolated from E. coli. We conclude that the S. enteritidis plasmid could arise from the S. typhimurium plasmid through deletions, and that they are evolutionary distant from other IncFI and IncFII plasmids.