The highly conserved Saccharomyces cerevisiae RAD51 protein functions in both mitotic and meiotic homologous recombination and in double-strand break repair. Screening of the public cDNA sequence database for RAD51-like genes led to the identification of a partial sequence from a breast tissue library present in the I.M.A.G.E. (Integrated Molecular Analysis of Genes and their Expression) collection. An extended 1764-bp cDNA clone encoding an open reading frame of 350 amino acids was isolated. This clone showed significant amino acid identity with other human RAD51 homologs. The new homolog, named RAD51B, was mapped to human chromosome 14q23-q24.2 using a panel of human-hamster somatic cell hybrids and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that RAD51B mRNA is widely expressed and most abundant in tissues active in recombination. Functions associated with known RAD51 homologs suggest a role for RAD51B in meiotic recombination and/or recombinational repair.