Chimeric PMA1::PMA2 sequences, placed under the control of the PMA1 promoter, were constructed by in vivo recombination between a gapped linearized plasmid containing the PMA2 gene and four different fragments of the PMA1 gene. Correct in-frame assembly of the PMA sequences was screened by the expression of the lacZ reporter gene fused to the PMA2 coding region. Restriction and sequencing analysis of 35 chimeras showed that in all cases, the hybrid sequences was obtained as fusions between continuous sequences specific to PMA1 and PMA2, separated by a region of identity. In all but three cases, the junction sequences were not located at regions of greatest identity. Strikingly, depending on the PMA1 fragment used, junction distribution fell into two categories. In the first, the junctions were scattered over several hundreds of nucleotides upstream of the extremity of the PMA1 fragment, while in the second, they were concentrated at this extremity. Analysis of the alignment of the PMA1 and PMA2 sequences suggests that the distribution is not related to the size of the region of identity at the PMA1-PMA2 boundary but depends on the degree of identity of the PMA genes upstream of the region of identity, the accumulation of successive mismatches leading to a clustered distribution of the junctions. Moreover, the introduction of seven closely spaced mismatches near the end of a PMA1 segment with an otherwise-high level of identity with PMA2 led to a significantly increased concentration of the junctions near this end. These data show that a low level of identity in the vicinity of the common boundary stretch is a strong barrier to recombination. In contrast, consecutive mismatches or regions of overall moderate identity which are located several hundreds of nucleotides upstream from the PMA1 end do not necessarily block recombination.