Living cells suffer numerous and varied alterations of their genetic material. Of these, the DNA double-strand break (DSB) is both particularly threatening and common. Double-strand breaks arise from exposure to DNA damaging agents, but also from cell metabolism-in a fortuitous manner during DNA replication or repair of other kinds of lesions and in a programmed manner, for example during meiosis or V(D)J gene rearrangement. Cells possess several overlapping repair pathways to deal with these breaks, generally designated as genetic recombination. Genetic and biochemical studies have provided considerable amounts of data about the proteins involved in recombination processes and their functions within these processes. Although they have long played a key role in building understanding of genetics, relatively little is known at the molecular level of the genetic recombination processes in plants. The use of reverse genetic approaches and the public availability of sequence tagged mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana have led to increasingly rapid progress in this field over recent years. The rapid progress of studies of recombination in plants is obviously not limited to the DSB repair machinery as such and we ask readers to understand that in order to maintain the focus and to rest within a reasonable length, we present only limited discussion of the exciting advances in the of plant meiosis field, which require a full review in their own right . We thus present here an update on recent advances in understanding of the DSB repair machinery of plants, focussing on Arabidopsis and making a particular effort to place these in the context of more general of understanding of these processes.