The sequence 5'-GCGATCGC-3', designated HIP1, for highly iterated palindrome, was first identified at the borders of a gene-deletion event and subsequently shown to constitute up to 2.5% of the DNA in some cyanobacteria. It is now reported that HIP1 is polyphyletic, occurring in several distinct cyanobacterial lineages and not defining a clade. HIP1 does not introduce gaps into sequence alignments. It aligns with partial HIP1 sites in related sequences showing that it propagates by nucleotide substitutions rather than insertion. Constructs have been created to determine the frequencies at which deletion events occur between palindromes located within the selectable marker neo. Deletion between HIP1 sites was more frequent in Synechococcus PCC 7942 than deletion between control palindromes, 5'-CCGATCGG-3', designated PAL0. However, this is not due to a recombinase that recognises HIP1 and is peculiar to cyanobacteria because similar deletion frequencies were detected in Escherichia coli. Furthermore, the frequency of deletion of DNA flanked asymmetrically by one HIP1 site and one PAL0 site was less than the frequency of deletion of DNA flanked asymmetrically by identical copies of either palindrome. This is consistent with deletion by copy-choice.