Seven complete genomes and 64 coat protein gene sequences belonging to Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV) isolates from different continents were examined for evidence of genetic recombination using six different recombination-detection programs. In the seven complete genomes and a single complete genome of the related virus Clover yellow vein virus (ClYVV), evidence for eight recombination patterns was found by four or more programs, giving firm evidence of their presence, and five additional recombination patterns were detected by three or fewer programs, giving tentative evidence of their occurrence. When the nucleotide sequences of 64 BYMV and one ClYVV coat protein genes were analyzed, three firm recombination patterns were detected in 21 isolates (32%). With another six isolates (9%), tentative evidence was found for three further recombination patterns. Of the 19 firm or tentative recombination patterns detected within and between strain groups of BYMV, and with ClYVV, 12 involved a generalist group of isolates as a parent but none of the other BYMV groups acted as parents more than six times. These findings suggest that recombination played an important role in the evolution of BYMV strain groups that specialize in infecting particular groups of domesticated plants.