We report the construction of a series of replicating shuttle vectors that consist of a low-copy-number cloning vector for Escherichia coli and functional components of the origin of replication (oriC) of the chromosome of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. In the process of identifying the minimum replication origin sequence required for autonomous plasmid replication in P. furiosus, we discovered that several features of the origin predicted by bioinformatic analysis and in vitro binding studies were not essential for stable autonomous plasmid replication. A minimum region required to promote plasmid DNA replication was identified, and plasmids based on this sequence readily transformed P. furiosus. The plasmids replicated autonomously and existed in a single copy. In contrast to shuttle vectors based on a plasmid from the closely related hyperthermophile Pyrococcus abyssi for use in P. furiosus, plasmids based on the P. furiosus chromosomal origin were structurally unchanged after transformation and were stable without selection for more than 100 generations.