Recent studies of human oocytes have demonstrated an enrichment for distal exchanges among meiosis I (MI) nondisjunction events and for proximal exchanges among meiosis II (MII) events. Our characterization of 103 cases of spontaneous X chromosome nondisjunction in Drosophila oocytes strongly parallels these observations. The recombinational histories of MI (97/103) and MII (6/103) nondisjunctional ova were strikingly different. MI nondisjunction occurred primarily in oocytes with non-exchange X chromosomes; of the new nondisjoining exchange bivalents, most carried distal crossovers. Thus, spontaneous MI nondisjunction reflects the failure of the achiasmate segregation systems. MII nondisjunction occurred only in oocytes with proximal exchanges. We propose several models to explain how very proximal exchanges might impair proper segregation.