Chromosomal DNA replication units in early embryos of D.melanogaster were studied using two-dimensional gel replicon mapping techniques. DNA was prepared from nuclei encapsulated into agarose beads. This method substantially improved preservation of replication intermediates more than standard DNA preparation methods, and allowed us to detect replication intermediates for even single-copy chromosomal regions without their selective enrichment. Analysis with tandem repeats of histone genes indicated that DNA replication initiates at multiple locations on the repeating unit. The initiation sites were not localized to a defined site, but rather distributed throughout the repeating unit. DNA replication on a single-copy chromosomal region was also suggested to initiate at numerous sites, probably with little regard for the specific DNA sequences.