The origin of replication of Escherichia coli, oriC, has been labeled by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The E. coli K12 strain was grown under steady state conditions with a doubling time of 79 min at 28 degrees C. Under these growth conditions DNA replication starts in the previous cell cycle at -33 min. At birth cells possess two origins which are visible as two separated foci in fully labeled cells. The number of foci increased with cell length. The distance of foci from the nearest cell pole has been measured in various length classes. The data suggest: i) that the two most outwardly located foci keep a constant distance to the cell pole and they therefore move apart gradually in line with cell elongation; and ii) that at the initiation of DNA replication the labeled origins occur near the center of prospective daughter cells.