The M rust resistance gene from flax was cloned after two separate approaches, an analysis of spontaneous M mutants with an L6 gene-derived DNA probe and tagging with the maize transposon Activator, independently identified the same gene. The gene encodes a protein of the nucleotide binding site leucine-rich repeat class and is related (86% nucleotide identity) to the unlinked L6 rust resistance gene. In contrast to the L locus, which contains a single gene with multiple alleles, ~15 related genes occur at the complex M locus, with only one encoding the M resistance specificity. The M protein contains two direct repeats of 147 and 149 amino acids in the C-terminal part of the leucine-rich region. Three mutant alleles of M encoding a product containing a single repeat unit of 154 amino acids were isolated. The mutant DNA sequences probably occurred by unequal intragenic exchange in the coding region of the repeats. The recombinant alleles lost M resistance and gained no detectable new resistance specificity.