- In Drosophila, mutations in double-strand DNA break (DSB) repair enzymes, such as spn-B, activate a meiotic checkpoint leading to dorsal-ventral patterning defects in the egg and an abnormal appearance of the oocyte nucleus. Mutations in spn-D cause an array of ovarian phenotypes similar to spn-B. We have cloned the spn-D locus and found that it encodes a protein of 271 amino acids that shows significant homology to the human RAD51C protein. In mammals the spn-B and spn-D homologs, XRCC3 and RAD51C, play a role in genomic stability in somatic cells. To test for a similar role for spn-B and spn-D in double-strand DNA repair in mitotic cells, we analyzed the sensitivity of single and double mutants to DSBs induced by exposure to X rays and MMS. We found that neither singly mutant nor doubly mutant animals were significantly sensitized to MMS or X rays. These results suggest that spn-B and spn-D act in meiotic recombination but not in repair of DSBs in somatic cells. As there is no apparent ortholog of the meiosis-specific DMC1 gene in the Drosophila genome, and given their meiosis-specific requirement, we suggest that spn-B and spn-D may have a function comparable to DMC1.