Homologous recombination is a high fidelity, template-dependent process that is used in repair of damaged DNA, recovery of broken replication forks, and disjunction of homologous chromosomes in meiosis. Much of what is known about recombination genes and mechanisms comes from studies on baker's yeast. Ustilago maydis, a basidiomycete fungus, is distant evolutionarily from baker's yeast and so offers the possibility of gaining insight into recombination from an alternative perspective. Here we have surveyed the genome of U. maydis to determine the composition of its homologous recombination system. Compared to baker's yeast, there are fundamental differences in the function as well as in the repertoire of dedicated components. These include the use of a BRCA2 homolog and its modifier Dss1 rather than Rad52 as a mediator of Rad51, the presence of only a single Rad51 paralog, and the absence of Dmc1 and auxiliary meiotic proteins.