Genetic recombination generates novel trait combinations, and understanding how recombination is distributed across the genome is key to modern genetics. The PRDM9 protein defines recombination hotspots; however, megabase-scale recombination patterning is independent of PRDM9. The single round of DNA replication, which precedes recombination in meiosis, may establish these patterns; therefore, we devised an approach to study meiotic replication that includes robust and sensitive mapping of replication origins. We find that meiotic DNA replication is distinct; reduced origin firing slows replication in meiosis, and a distinctive replication pattern in human males underlies the subtelomeric increase in recombination. We detected a robust correlation between replication and both contemporary and historical recombination and found that replication origin density coupled with chromosome size determines the recombination potential of individual chromosomes. Our findings and methods have implications for understanding the mechanisms underlying DNA replication, genetic recombination, and the landscape of mammalian germline variation.