Homothallic switching in S. cerevisiae involves replacing the DNA of the expressed allele at the mating type locus (MAT) with a duplicate of sequences from the unexpressed loci HML or HMR. The MATa and MAT alpha alleles differ by a DNA substitution that is flanked by sequences in common to MAT, and the donor loci HML and HMR. Using restriction site polymorphisms between MAT and the donor loci, we demonstrate that the extent of MAT DNA that is replaced during switching is variable and that there is a gradient of coconversion across the X region. Coconversion events occur on both sides of the double-strand cleavage by the HO gene product. The two cells produced after a switch often differ at the flanking site, indicating a DNA heteroduplex intermediate.