The S. cerevisiae RAD52 epistasis group gene products mediate DNA double strand break repair and recombination. These proteins and their modes of action have been extensively characterized. The existence of highly conserved mammalian RAD52 epistasis group homologues suggests that information regarding the functions and mechanisms of double strand break repair proteins in yeast may be applicable to mammalian recombinational DNA repair. Herein, we provide an overview of the S. cerevisiae RAD52 epistasis group and describe the characterization of the five mammalian RAD52 epistasis group homologues identified to date. In the context of their expression patterns and other functional analyses, we discuss potential roles for these proteins in mammalian recombinational DNA repair and specialized recombination events such as V(D)J recombination.