Assembly of two orthologous proteins associated with meiotic chromosome axes in Arabidopsis thaliana (Asy1 and Zyp1) was studied immunologically at meiotic prophase of meiosis of wild-type rye (Secale cereale) and its synaptic mutant sy10, using antibodies derived from A. thaliana. The temporal and spatial expression of the two proteins were similar in wild-type rye, but with one notable difference. Unlike A. thaliana, in which foci of the transverse filament protein Zyp1 appear to linearize commensurately with synapsis, linear tracts of Asy1 and Zyp1 protein form independently at leptotene and early zygotene of rye and coalign into triple structures resembling synaptonemal complexes (SCs) only at later stages of synapsis. The sy10 mutant used in this study also forms spatially separate linear tracts of Asy1 and Zyp1 proteins at leptotene and early zygotene, and these coalign but do not form regular triple structures at midprophase. Electron microscopy of spread axial elements reveals extensive asynapsis with some exchanges of pairing partners. Indiscriminate SCs support nonhomologous chiasma formation at metaphase I, as revealed by multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization enabling reliable identification of all the chromosomes of the complement. Scrutiny of chiasmate associations of chromosomes at this stage revealed some specificity in the associations of homologous and nonhomologous chromosomes. Inferences about the nature of synapsis in this mutant were drawn from such observations.