A temperature-sensitive mutant of Bacillus subtilis W23, dna-20 (Ts), has been isolated and shown to be defective in initiation of rounds of chromosome replication at the nonpermissive temperature. Upon transfer of dna-20(Ts) from 30 to 45 C, deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis, as measured by [3H]thymine incorporation, gradually ceases. The distribution of genetic markers among unreplicated and replicated deoxyribonucleic acid, isolated from dna-20(Ts) after a period at 43 C in a medium containing 5-bromouracil, and fractionated in a CsCl gradient, shows that the cessation of initiation at the higher temperature is immediate. On the other hand, ribonucleic acid and protein synthesis continues at elevated or unaltered rates for some time after the shift to 45 C. Marker frequency analysis shows that all rounds of replication in progress at the time of the temperature shift terminate rapidly (within 40 min), even when chromosomes are replicating dichotomously in rich media. dna-20(Ts) remains 100% viable for at least 2 h at 45 C. Over a 5-h period at 45 C the nuclear bodies remain compact; a small number (less than 5%) of deoxyribonucleic acid-less cells are produced, but there is no morphological distortion of the cells. When the cells are returned to 30 C after 2 h at 45 C, chromosome replication is initiated rapidly at the normal origin and then proceeds in the normal established sequence. However, a second round of replication is initiated soon after the first. dna-20(Ts) has been shown to map as a B-group mutation, the major class of initiation mutants identified in B. subtillus 168.