The process of homologous recombination promotes error-free repair of double-strand breaks and is essential for meiosis. Central to the process of homologous recombination are the RAD52 group genes (RAD50, RAD51, RAD52, RAD54, RDH54/TID1, RAD55, RAD57, RAD59, MRE11, and XRS2), most of which were identified by their requirement for the repair of ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Rad52 group proteins are highly conserved among eukaryotes. Recent studies showing defects in homologous recombination and double-strand break repair in several human cancer-prone syndromes have emphasized the importance of this repair pathway in maintaining genome integrity. Herein, we review recent genetic, biochemical, and structural analyses of the genes and proteins involved in recombination.