Abstract Replication patterns of the miniP1 plasmid pZC176, the miniNR1 plasmid pRR933, and the high-copy miniNR1 derivative pRR942 were examined during the Escherichia coli cell division cycle and compared to the cycle-specific replication pattern of a minichromosome and the cycle nonspecific pattern of pBR322. In E. coli cells growing with doubling times of 40 and 60 min, the miniP1 plasmid was found to replicate with a slight periodicity during the division cycle. The periodicity was not nearly as pronounced as that of the minichromosome, was not affected by the presence of a minichromosome, and was not evident in cells growing more rapidly with a doubling time of 25 min. Both miniNR1 plasmids, pRR933 and pRR942, replicated with patterns indistinguishable from that of pBR322 and clearly different from that of the minichromosome. It is concluded that both P1 and NR1 plasmids can replicate at all stages of the cell cycle but that P1 displays a slight periodicity in replication probability in the cycle of slower growing cells. This periodicity does not appear to be coupled to a specific age in the cycle, but could be associated with the achievement of a specific cell mass per plasmid. During temperature shifts of a dnaC(Ts) mutant, the miniP1 plasmid and pBR322 replicated with similar patterns that differed from that of the minichromosome, but were consistent with a brief eclipse between rounds of replication.