It might be anticipated that the presence of redundant but oppositely oriented sequences in a chromosome could allow inversion of the intervening material through homologous recombination. For example, the ribosomal RNA gene rrnD of Escherichia coli has the opposite orientation fro rrnB and rrnE and is separated from these genes by roughly 20% of the chromosome. Starting with a derivative of Cavalli Hfr, we have constructed mutants that have an inversion of the segment between rrnD and either rrnB or rrnE. These mutants are generally quite viable but do exhibit a slight reduction in growth rate relative to the parental strain. A major line of laboratory E. coli, W3110 and its derivatives, also has an inversion between rrnD and rrnE, probably created directly by a recombinational event between these highly homologous genes.