The D. melanogaster mei-41 gene is required for DNA repair, mitotic chromosome stability, and normal levels of meiotic recombination in oocytes. Here we show that the predicted mei-41 protein is similar in sequence to the ATM (ataxia telangiectasia) protein from humans and to the yeast rad3 and Mec1p proteins. There is also extensive functional overlap between mei-41 and ATM. Like ATM-deficient cells, mei-41 cells are exquisitely sensitive to ionizing radiation and display high levels of mitotic chromosome instability. We also demonstrate that mei-41 cells, like ATM-deficient cells, fail to show an irradiation-induced delay in the entry into mitosis that is characteristic of normal cells. Thus, the mei-41 gene of Drosophila may be considered to be a functional homolog of the human ATM gene.