We investigated the relationship between synaptonemal complex (SC) length and genome size in 18 species of vertebrates from the classes Osteicthyes (bony fish), Reptilia (reptiles), Aves (birds), and Mammalia (mammals). When total SC length was plotted against genome size for all 18 vertebrate species, there did not appear to be a correlation between the two variables. However, when birds were excluded from the data and a linear regression analysis was performed, variation in genome size accounted for approximately 50% of the variation in total SC length (r2 = 0.47). Dividing the average total SC length for a species by its 4C DNA amount yields the species' SC/DNA ratio. SC/DNA ratios of birds were approximately twice as high as the SC/DNA ratios of reptiles and mammals. Bony fish showed intraclass divergence in SC/DNA ratios. The sunfish (Centrarchidae) had SC/DNA ratios almost as high as those of birds, while the remaining fish in the study had SC/DNA ratios similar to those of reptiles and mammals. These observations indicate that inter and intraclass divergence in the relationship between total SC length and genome size has occurred in the vertebrates. Coupled with evidence from the literature, our results also suggest that SC/DNA ratios are positively correlated with crossover frequency.