DNA polymerase of the archaeon Thermococcus litoralis can synthesize a long stretch of linear double-stranded DNA in the complete absence of added primer and template DNAs. This finding suggests that genetic information can potentially be created by protein. We report here the effects of temperature, ionic strength and pH on this ab initio DNA synthesis by the protein in vitro . When the temperature of the reaction was changed, the sequence of the product DNA changed markedly. For instance, the reaction products were (TAAT) n at 69 degrees C, (TATCCGGA) n at 84 degrees C and (TATCGCGATAGCGATCGC) n at 89 degrees C. The ionic strength of the reaction condition also affected the sequence: it was (TATCTAGA) n with 0 mM KCl, (TATATACG) n with 50 mM KCl and (TATAGTTATAAC) n with 100 mM KCl at 74 degrees C. When the pH of the reaction condition was changed from 6.8 to 10.8, the size of the product DNA decreased, but its sequence did not. These results demonstrate that DNA synthesized ab initio by DNA polymerase of T.litoralis is markedly influenced by the reaction conditions. The results also suggest that genetic information that might have been created by protein on the early earth is strongly influenced by environmental factors.