A series of molecular events will explain how genetic elements can transpose from one DNA site to another, generate a short oligonucleotide duplication at both ends of the new insertion site, and replicate in the transposition process. These events include the formation of recombinant molecules which have been postulated to be intermediates in the transposition process. The model explains how the replication of bacteriophage Mu is obligatorily associated with movement to new genetic sites. It postulates that all transposable elements replicate in the transposition process so that they remain at their original site while moving to new sites. According to this model, the mechanism of transposition is very different from the insertion and excision of bacteriophage lambda.