The recA gene of newly discovered Thermus thermophilus MAT72 phage Tt72 (Myoviridae) was cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The 1020-bp gene codes for a 339-amino-acid polypeptide with an Mr of 38,155 which shows 38.7% positional identity to the E. coli RecA protein. When expressed in E. coli, the Tt72 recA gene did not confer the ability to complement the ultraviolet light (254 nm) sensitivity of an E. coli recA mutant. Tt72 RecA protein has been purified with good yield to catalytic and electrophoretic homogeneity using a three-step chromatography procedure. Biochemical characterization indicated that the protein can pair and promote ATP-dependent strand exchange reaction resulting in formation of a heteroduplex DNA at 60 ° C under conditions otherwise optimal for E. coli RecA. When the Tt72 RecA protein was included in a standard PCR-based DNA amplification reaction, the specificity of the PCR assays was significantly improved by eliminating non-specific products.