Receptor editing is a process consisting of replacement of pre-existing H or L chain rearrangements by secondary rearrangements. This process could serve to remove autoreactive specificities, or to rescue loci with non-functional rearrangements. At the H chain locus, functional replacement of a V(H)DJ(H) rearrangement by an upstream V(H) requires the presence of an embedded RSS located in reverse orientation near the 3' end of the V(H) segment. Although most V(H) genes contain a fairly consensus embedded heptamer, the nonamer sequence bears little resemblance to the consensus RSS nonamer. Therefore, the physiologic rate of H chain editing by V(H) replacement is yet unknown. In this study, we used both conventional and sensitive competition recombination substrate assays to determine the recombination frequency of the V(H)1X embedded RSS relative to consensus and non-consensus RSS's. Results show no detectable recombination of the 81X embedded RSS in a recombination substrate, and the competition substrate allows us to estimate that the 81X embedded RSS recombines at least 1300 fold less often than a consensus RSS. This suggests that V(H) gene replacement is not responsible for the decrease in representation of the 81X gene during differentiation. Furthermore, since the sequence of the embedded RSS is very similar for many V(H) genes, our results suggest that receptor editing of the H chain will be an infrequent event, leaving L chain editing as the main mode of avoiding autoreactive specificities in vivo.