Based on homologies between the yeast DMC1 and the lily LIM15 meiosis-specific genes, degenerate PCR primers were designed that amplified the Arabidopsis DMC1 gene (AtDMC1). AtDMC1 genomic DNA (8 kb) was sequenced, and the transcript was characterized by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by 5' and 3' RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends). The AtDMC1 gene contains 15 exons and 14 introns. RNA in situ hybridization analysis showed that expression of the AtDMC1 is restricted to pollen mother cells in anthers and to megaspore mother cells in ovules. The AtDMC1 promoter was fused to the GUS reporter gene, and conferred meiosis-associated expression in both male and female floral lineages. Comparison of AtDMC1 isolated from Landsberg erecta ecotype to its Columbia allele ArLIM15, revealed the presence of a 1874 bp transposon-like element within the promoter region of ArLIM15. RT-PCR analysis showed that the expression levels of AtDMC1 and ArLIM15 are similar. Possible uses for the AtDMC1 promoter are discussed.