ZEP1, a transverse filament (TF) protein, is the rice (Oryza sativa) homolog of Arabidopsis thaliana ZYP1. In the Tos17-insertional zep1 mutants, homologous chromosomes align along the entire length of the chromosome, but the synaptonemal complex is not assembled in early prophase I. Crossovers are well formed, and 12 bivalents could be detected from diakinesis to metaphase I, which leads to equal chromosomal segregation in anaphase I. Moreover, the number of crossovers has a tendency to be increased compared with that in the wild type. These phenomena are different from the TF mutants identified so far in other organisms. Chiasma terminalization of the bivalent, which occurs frequently in the wild type, seldom occurred in zep1. Transmission electron micrographs and immunodetection using an antibody against ZEP1 showed that ZEP1 is the central element of the synaptonemal complex. Although PAIR2 and MER3 were loaded normally in zep1, their dissociation was delayed severely compared with the wild type. In addition, ZEP1 is reloaded onto chromosomes in early microspores as the chromosome decondense, suggesting that ZEP1 might have other biological functions during this process.