Despite conservation of the process of meiosis, recombination landscapes vary between species, with large genome grasses such as barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) exhibiting a pattern of recombination that is very heavily skewed to the ends of chromosomes. We have been using a collection of semi-sterile desynaptic meiotic mutant lines to help elucidate how recombination is controlled in barley and the role of the corresponding wild-type (WT) meiotic genes within this process. Here we applied a combination of genetic segregation analysis, cytogenetics, and immunocytology to genetically map and characterize the meiotic mutant desynaptic5 (des5). We identified an exonic insertion in the positional candidate ortholog of Disrupted Meiotic cDNA 1 (HvDMC1) on chromosome 5H of des5. des5 exhibits a severe meiotic phenotype with disturbed synapsis, reduced crossovers, and chromosome mis-segregation. The meiotic phenotype and reduced fertility of des5 is similarly observed in Hvdmc1RNAi transgenic plants and HvDMC1p:GusPlus reporter lines show DMC1 expression specifically in the developing inflorescence. The des5 mutation maintains the reading frame of the gene and exhibits semi-dominance with respect to recombination in the heterozygote indicating the value of non-knockout mutations for dissection of the control of recombination in the early stages of meiosis.