We describe a system that uses pulsed-field gels for the physical detection of recombinant DNA molecules, double-strand DNA breaks (DSB) and sister-chromatid exchange in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The system makes use of a circular variant of chromosome III (Chr. III). Meiotic recombination between this ring chromosome and a linear homolog produces new molecules of sizes distinguishable on gels from either parental molecule. We demonstrate that these recombinant molecules are not present either in strains with two linear Chr. III molecules or in rad50 mutants, which are defective in meiotic recombination. In conjunction with the molecular endpoints, we present data on the timing of commitment to meiotic recombination scored genetically. We have used x-rays to linearize circular Chr. III, both to develop a sensitive method for measuring frequency of DSB and as a means of detecting double-sized circles originating in part from sister-chromatid exchange, which we find to be frequent during meiosis.