This paper describes the identification, cloning and phenotypic analysis of SPO14, a new gene required for meiosis and spore formation. Studies of strains carrying a temperature-sensitive mutation or a disruption/duplication allele indicate that spo14 mutants have the unusual property of being able to return to mitotic division, even from the late stages of meiotic development. Early meiotic events, such as DNA replication and intragenic and intergenic recombination, occur normally. In contrast, later meiotic processes are defective in spo14 mutants: the meiosis I division appears to be executed at slightly depressed levels, the meiosis II division is reduced more severely, and no spores are formed. Epistasis tests using mutants defective in recombination or reductional division support these findings. Based on these data, we suggest that the SPO14 gene product is involved in the coordinate induction of late meiotic events and that this induction is responsible for the phenomenon of commitment.