The dyad mutant of Arabidopsis was previously identified as being defective in female meiosis. We report here the analysis of the DYAD gene. In ovules and anthers DYAD RNA is detected specifically in female and male meiocytes respectively, in premeiotic interphase/meiotic prophase. Analysis of chromosome spreads in female meiocytes showed that in the mutant, chromosomes did not undergo synapsis and formed ten univalents instead of five bivalents. Unlike mutations in AtDMC1 and AtSPO11 which also affect bivalent formation as the univalent chromosomes segregate randomly, the dyad univalents formed an ordered metaphase plate and underwent an equational division. This suggests a requirement for DYAD for chromosome synapsis and centromere configuration in female meiosis. The dyad mutant showed increased and persistent expression of a meiosis-specific marker, pAtDMC1::GUS during female meiosis, indicative of defective meiotic progression. The sequence of the putative protein encoded by DYAD did not reveal strong similarity to other proteins. DYAD is therefore likely to encode a novel protein required for meiotic chromosome organisation and female meiotic progression.