The synaptonemal complex (SC) is a tripartite protein scaffold that forms between homologous chromosomes during meiosis. Although the SC is essential for stable homologue pairing and crossover recombination in diverse eukaryotes, it is unknown how individual components assemble into the highly conserved SC structure. Here we report the biochemical identification of two new SC components, SYP-5 and SYP-6, in Caenorhabditis elegans. SYP-5 and SYP-6 are paralogous to each other and play redundant roles in synapsis, providing an explanation for why these genes have evaded previous genetic screens. Superresolution microscopy reveals that they localize between the chromosome axes and span the width of the SC in a head-to-head manner, similar to the orientation of other known transverse filament proteins. Using genetic redundancy and structure–function analyses to truncate C-terminal tails of SYP-5/6, we provide evidence supporting the role of SC in both limiting and promoting crossover formation.

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