rec mutations result in an extremely low level of recombination and a high frequency of primary non-disjunction in the female meiosis of Drosophila melanogaster. Here we demonstrate that the rec gene encodes a novel protein related to the mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins. Six MCM proteins (MCM2-7) are conserved in eukaryotic genomes, and they function as heterohexamers in the initiation and progression of mitotic DNA replication. Three rec alleles, rec(1), rec(2) and rec (3), were found to possess mutations within this gene, and P element-mediated germline transformation with a wild-type rec cDNA fully rescued the rec mutant phenotypes. The 885 amino acid REC protein has an MCM domain in the middle of its sequence and, like MCM2, 4, 6 and 7, REC contains a putative Zn-finger motif. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that REC is distantly related to the six conserved MCM proteins. Database searches reveal that there are candidates for orthologs of REC in other higher eukaryotes, including human. We addressed whether rec is involved in DNA repair in the mitotic division after the DNA damage caused by methylmethane sulfonate (MMS) or by X-rays. These analyses suggest that the rec gene has no, or only a minor, role in DNA repair and recombination in somatic cells.