In budding yeast, absence of the Hop2 protein leads to extensive synaptonemal complex (SC) formation between nonhomologous chromosomes, suggesting a crucial role for Hop2 in the proper alignment of homologous chromosomes during meiotic prophase. Genetic analysis indicates that Hop2 acts in the same pathway as the Rad51 and Dmc1 proteins, two homologs of E. coli RecA. Thus, the hop2 mutant phenotype demonstrates the importance of the recombination machinery in promoting accurate chromosome pairing. We propose that the Dmc1/Rad51 recombinases require Hop2 to distinguish homologous from nonhomologous sequences during the homology search process. Thus, when Hop2 is absent, interactions between nonhomologous sequences become inappropriately stabilized and can initiate SC formation. Overexpression of RAD51 largely suppresses the meiotic defects of the dmc1 and hop2 mutants. We conclude that Rad51 is capable of carrying out a homology search independently, whereas Dmc1 requires additional factors such as Hop2.