Vibrio cholerae and V. anguillarum are recognized as aquatic-borne human and fish pathogens, respectively. Based upon analyses of several genes and the presence of novel genetic elements it seems that these two species are very closely related. Studies in this laboratory have identified an association of IS1358 with rfb and capsule loci in these two species. The most recent findings suggest that IS1358 is associated with the rfb region in V. cholerae O1 and O139 and in V. anguillarum O1 and O2. In addition, the rfb region in both V. cholerae serogroups and in V. anguillarum O1 is limited at one end by gmhD. These features make it feasible to envisage a mechanism by which the evolution of new rfb genes is taking place involving IS1358 and the region around gmhD. Furthermore, it is possible to envisage that there is or has been an exchange of genetic material between these species leading to new rfb/capsule regions. This review examines the genetics and biosynthesis of the O-antigen and capsule of V. cholerae O1 and O139, as well as the V. anguillarum serogroup O1 and the role of IS1358. Throughout this review we have used the new nomenclature for rfb genes proposed by.