5.6. Replication Compatibility Between MySQL Versions
The binary log format as implemented in MySQL 5.0 is considerably different from that used in previous versions. Major changes were made in MySQL 5.0.3 (for improvements to handling of character sets and LOAD DATA INFILE) and 5.0.4 (for improvements to handling of time zones).
We recommend using the most recent MySQL version available because replication capabilities are continually being improved. We also recommend using the same version for both the master and the slave. We recommend upgrading masters and slaves running alpha or beta versions to new (production) versions. Replication from a 5.0.3 master to a 5.0.2 slave will fail; from a 5.0.4 master to a 5.0.3 slave will also fail. In general, slaves running MySQL 5.0.x can be used with older masters (even those running MySQL 3.23, 4.0, or 4.1), but not the reverse.
Note: You cannot replicate from a master that uses a newer binary log format to a slave that uses an older format (for example, from MySQL 5.0 to MySQL 4.1). This has significant implications for upgrading replication servers, as described in Section 5.7, "Upgrading a Replication Setup."
The preceding information pertains to replication compatibility at the protocol level. However, there can be other constraints, such as SQL-level compatibility issues. For example, a 5.0 master cannot replicate to a 4.1 slave if the replicated statements use SQL features available in 5.0 but not in 4.1. These and other issues are discussed in Section 5.8, "Replication Features and Known Problems."