Strains of Escherichia coli recently isolated from human feces were examined for the frequency with which they accept and R factor (Ri) from a derepressed fi+ strain of E. coli K-12 and transfer it to fecal and laboratory strains. Colicins produced by some of the isolates rapidly killed the other half of the mating pair; therefore, conjugation was conducted by a membrane filtration procedure whereby this effect was minimized. The majority of fecal E. coli isolates accepted the R factor at lower frequencies than K-12 F-, varying from 10-2 per donor cell to undetectable levels. The frequencies with which certain fecal recipients received the R-plasmid were increased when its R+ transconjugant was either cured of the R1 plasmid and remated with the fi+ strain or backcrossed into the parental strain. The former suggests the loss of an incompatibility plasmid, and the latter suggests the modification of the R1-plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). In general, the fecal R+ E. coli transconjugants were less effective donors for K-12 F- and heterologous fecal strains than was the fi+ K-12 strain, whereas the single strain of Citrobacter freundii examined was generally more competent. Passage of the R1-plasmid to strains of salmonellae reached mating frequencies of 10-1 per donor cell when the recipient was a Salmonella typhi previously cured of its resident R-plasmid. However, two recently isolated strains of Salmonella accepted the R1-plasmid from E. coli K-12 R+ or the R+ E. coli transconjugants at frequencies of 5x10-7 or less.