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Chloroplasts contain multiple copies of a DNA molecule (the plastome) that encodes many of the gene products required to perform photosynthesis. The plastome is replicated by nuclear-encoded proteins and its copy number seems to be highly regulated by the cell in a tissue-specific and developmental manner. Our understanding of the biochemical mechanism by which the plastome is replicated and the molecular basis for its regulation is limited. In this commentary we review our present understanding of chloroplast DNA replication and examine current efforts to elucidate its mechanism at a molecular level.