Abstract This study focuses on reporting events in Eimeria tenella oocysts from early to late prophase I in terms of RAD51 protein in association with the synaptonemal complex formed between homologous chromosomes. The aim of the study was the sequential localization of RAD51 protein, which is involved in the repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) on the eimerian chromosomes as they synapse and desynapse. Structural Maintenance of Chromosome protein SMC3, which plays a role in synaptonemal complex formation, was labeled to identify initiation and progress of chromosome synapsis and desynapsis in parallel with the appearance and disappearance of RAD51 foci. Antibodies directed against RAD51 and cohesin subunit SMC3 proteins were labeled with either fluorescence or colloidal gold to visualize RAD51 protein foci and synaptonemal complexes. RAD51 protein localization during prophase I was studied on meiotic chromosomes spreads obtained from oocysts at different points in time after the start of sporulation. The present findings showed that foci detected with the antibody directed against RAD51 protein first appeared at the pre-leptotene stage before homologous chromosomes began pairing. Subsequently, the foci were detected in association with the lateral elements at the precise sites where synapsis were in progress. These findings lead us to suggest that in E. tenella, homologous chromosome pairing was a DSB-dependent mechanism and reinforced the participation of RAD51 protein in meiotic homology search, alignment and pairing of chromosomes.