We have studied the effect of gamma radiation on recombination frequency for intervals across the cluster of linkage group I in Caenorhabditis elegans. Recombination frequency increased approximately twofold across the dpy-5-unc-13 interval after treatment with 2000 rads (1 rad = 10 mGy) of cobalt 60 gamma radiation. Several factors affecting the magnitude of the increase have been characterized. Recombination frequency increased more with higher doses of radiation. However, the increase in recombination frequency with increasing dose was accompanied by a reduced average number of progeny from radiation-treated individuals. The amount of the increase was affected by meiotic stage, age at the time of treatment (premeiotic), and radiation dose. The increase in recombination was detectable in the B brood and remained elevated for the remainder of egg production. X-chromosome nondisjunction was also increased by radiation treatment. A high frequency of the recombinant progeny produced with radiation treatment were sterile unlike their nonrecombinant siblings. When parameters affecting recombination frequency are held constant during treatment, chromosomal regions of high gene density on the meiotic map increased more (fourfold) than an adjacent region of low gene density (no increase). The greatest increase was across the dpy-14-unc-13 interval near the center of the gene cluster. These results may suggest that the physical length of DNA per map unit is greater within the cluster than outside.