Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Replication of eukaryotic cell genomes is a tightly controlled process occurring once and only once per cell cycle. Replication initiates at several thousand origins, whose cis-acting sequences and trans-acting proteins have been partially characterized in the yeast S. cerevisiae in the last few years. In contrast, identification of origins of DNA replication in mammalian cells have proven much more difficult. Currently, less then 20 bona fide mammalian origins have been identified, of which only few characterized in detail. Here we discuss the available methods for origin identification in mammalian DNA and the main results, sometimes controversial, so far generated by their application. In particular, we review the currently available information concerning the three best characterized origins, namely those in the lamin B2 and b-globin gene domains in human cells and the one located downstream of the dihydrofolate reductase gene in hamster cells.