Genes at the Rp1 rust resistance locus of maize confer race-specific resistance to the common rust fungus Puccinia sorghi. Three variant genes with nonspecific effects (HRp1 -Kr1N, -D*21 and -MD*19) were found to be generated by intragenic crossing over within the LRR region. The LRR region of most NBS-LRR encoding genes is quite variable and codes for one of the regions in resistance gene proteins that controls specificity. Sequence comparisons demonstrated that the Rp1-Kr1N recombinant gene was identical to the N-terminus of the rp1-kp2 gene and C-terminus of another gene from its HRp1-K grandparent. The Rp1-D*21 recombinant gene consists of the N-terminus of the rp1-dp2 gene and C-terminus of the Rp1-D gene from the parental haplotype. Similarly, a recombinant gene from the Rp1-MD*19 haplotype has the N-terminus of an rp1 gene from the HRp1-M parent and C-terminus of the rp1-D19 gene from the HRp1-D parent. The recombinant Rp1 -Kr1N, -D*21 and -MD*19 genes activated defense responses in the absence of their AVR proteins triggering HR (hypersensitive response) in the absence of the pathogen. The results indicate that the frequent intragenic recombination events that occur in the Rp1 gene cluster not only recombine the genes into novel haplotypes, but also create genes with nonspecific effects. Some of these may contribute to nonspecific quantitative resistance but others have severe consequences for the fitness of the plant.