Genetic background effects on the frequency of meiotic recombination have long been suspected in mice but never demonstrated in a systematic manner, especially in inbred strains. We used a recently described immunostaining technique to assess meiotic exchange patterns in male mice. We found that among four different inbred strains--CAST/Ei, A/J, C57BL/6, and SPRET/Ei--the mean number of meiotic exchanges per cell and, thus, the recombination rates in these genetic backgrounds were significantly different. These frequencies ranged from a low of 21.5 exchanges in CAST/Ei to a high of 24.9 in SPRET/Ei. We also found that, as expected, these crossover events were nonrandomly distributed and displayed positive interference. However, we found no evidence for significant differences in the patterns of crossover positioning between strains with different exchange frequencies. From our observations of >10,000 autosomal synaptonemal complexes, we conclude that achiasmate bivalents arise in the male mouse at a frequency of 0.1%. Thus, special mechanisms that segregate achiasmate chromosomes are unlikely to be an important component of mammalian male meiosis.