Recombination is enhanced by transcription and by DNA damage caused by ultraviolet light (UV). Recombination between direct repeats can occur by gene conversion without an associated crossover, which maintains the gross repeat structure. There are several possible mechanisms that delete one repeat and the intervening sequences (gene conversion associated with a crossover, unequal sister chromatid exchange, and single-strand annealing). We examined transcription-enhanced spontaneous recombination, and UV-induced recombination between neomycin (neo) direct repeats. One neo gene was driven by the inducible MMTV promoter. Multiple (silent) markers in the second neo gene were used to map conversion tracts. These markers are thought to inhibit spontaneous recombination, and our data suggest that this inhibition is partially overcome by high level transcription. Recombination was stimulated by transcription and by UV doses of 6-12J/m(2), but not by 18J/m(2). About 70% of spontaneous and UV-induced products were deletions. In contrast, only 3% of DSB-induced products were deletions. We propose that these product spectra differ because spontaneous and UV-induced recombination is replication-dependent, whereas DSB-induced recombination is replication-independent.