Heteroduplexes formed between genes on homologous chromosomes are intermediates in meiotic recombination. In the HIS4 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, most mutant alleles at the 5' end of the gene have a higher rate of meiotic recombination (gene conversion) than mutant alleles at the 3' end of the gene. Such gradients are usually interpreted as indicating a higher frequency of heteroduplex formation at the high conversion end of the gene. We present evidence indicating that the gradient of conversion at HIS4 primarily reflects the direction of mismatch repair rather than the frequency of heteroduplex formation. We also identify a site located between the 5' end of HIS4 and the 3' end of BIK1 that stimulates heteroduplex formation at HIS4 and BIK1.