The centromere of chromosome III (CEN3) of yeast has been examined for its ability to inhibit meiotic recombination in adjacent sequences. The effect of the centromere was investigated when it was adjacent to both of the recombining sequences (homozygous) or adjacent to only one of the two recombining DNA segments (hemizygous). When homozygous, CEN3 exerts a bidirectional repression of crossing over and a strong inhibition of gene conversion. This suggests that CEN3 reduces the frequency of crossing over by interfering with the initiation of proximal recombination events. When hemizygous, CEN3 impairs the ability of adjacent sequences to act as the recipient of genetic information during gene conversion. These results support the idea that the initiating event in yeast meiotic recombination involves the recipient molecule.