Recombination of genes is essential to the evolution of genetic diversity, the segregation of chromosomes during cell division, and certain DNA repair processes. The Holliday junction, a four-arm, four-strand branched DNA crossover structure, is formed as a transient intermediate during genetic recombination and repair processes in the cell. The recognition and subsequent resolution of Holliday junctions into parental or recombined products appear to be critically dependent on their three-dimensional structure. Complementary NMR and time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer experiments on immobilized four-arm DNA junctions reported here indicate that the Holliday junction cannot be viewed as a static structure but rather as an equilibrium mixture of two conformational isomers. Furthermore, the distribution between the two possible crossover isomers was found to depend on the sequence in a manner that was not anticipated on the basis of previous low-resolution experiments.