In mammalian cells, DNA replication timing is controlled at the level of megabase (Mb)-sized chromosomal domains and correlates well with transcription, chromatin structure, and three-dimensional (3D) genome organization. Because of these properties, DNA replication timing is an excellent entry point to explore genome regulation at various levels and a variety of studies have been carried out over the years. However, DNA replication timing studies traditionally required at least tens of thousands of cells, and it was unclear whether the replication domains detected by cell population analyses were preserved at the single-cell level. Recently, single-cell DNA replication profiling methods became available, which revealed that the Mb-sized replication domains detected by cell population analyses were actually well preserved in individual cells. In this article, we provide a brief overview of our current knowledge on DNA replication timing regulation in mammals based on cell population studies, outline the findings from single-cell DNA replication profiling, and discuss future directions and challenges.
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