Xenopus egg extracts treated with the protein kinase inhibitor 6- dimethylaminopurine (6-DMAP) are unable to support the initiation of DNA replication. Nuclei assembled in 6-DMAP extracts behave as though they are in G2, and will not undergo another round of DNA replication until passage through mitosis. 6-DMAP extracts are functionally devoid of a replication factor that modifies chromatin in early G1 before nuclear envelope assembly, but which is itself incapable of crossing the nuclear envelope. This chromatin modification is capable of supporting only a single round of semiconservative replication. The behavior of this replication factor is sufficient to explain why eukaryotic DNA is replicated once and only once in each cell cycle, and conforms to the previous model of a Replication Licensing Factor. Cell cycle analysis shows that this putative Licensing Factor is inactive during metaphase, but becomes rapidly activated on exit from metaphase when it can modify chromatin before nuclear envelope assembly is complete.