In synchronous cultures of S. cerevisiae undergoing meiosis, an early event in the meiotic recombination pathway, site-specific double strand breaks (DSBs), occurs early in prophase, in some instances well before tripartite synaptonemal complex (SC) begins to form. This observation, together with previous results, supports the view that events involving DSBs are required for SC formation. We discuss the possibility that the mitotic pathway for recombinational repair of DSBs served as the primordial mechanism for connecting homologous chromosomes during the evolution of meiosis. DSBs disappear during the period when tripartite SC structure is forming and elongating (zygotene); presumably, they are converted to another type of recombination intermediate. Neither DSBs nor mature recombinant molecules are present when SCs are full length (pachytene). Mature reciprocally recombinant molecules arise at the end of or just after pachytene. We suggest that the SC might coordinate recombinant maturation with other events of meiosis.