The A mating type locus of Coprinus cinereus is remarkable for its extreme diversity, with over 100 different alleles in natural populations. Classical genetic studies have demonstrated that this hypervariability arises in part from recombination between two subloci of A, alpha and beta, although more recent population genetic data have indicated a third segregating sublocus. In this study, we characterized the molecular basis by which recombination generates nonparental A mating types. We mapped the frequency and location of all recombination events in two crosses and correlated the genetic and physical maps of A. We found that all recombination events were located in 6 kb of noncoding DNA between the alpha and beta subloci and that the rate of recombination in this noncoding region matched that generally observed for this genome. No recombination within gene clusters or within coding regions was observed, and the two alpha and beta subloci described in genetic analyses correlated with the previously characterized alpha and beta gene clusters. We propose that pairs of genes constitute both the sex determining and the hereditary unit of A.