Together, DNA repair and checkpoint responses ensure the integrity of the genome. Coordination of cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair are especially important following genotoxic radiation or chemotherapy, during which unusually high loads of DNA damage are sustained. In mammalian cells, the checkpoint kinase, Cds1 (also known as Chk2) is activated by ATM in response to DNA damage. The role of Cds1 as a checkpoint kinase depends on its ability to phosphorylate cell cycle regulators such p53, Cdc25 and Brca1. A role for Cds1 in repair is suggested by the finding that it interacts with the Holliday junction resolving activity Mus81. This review focuses on the many questions generated by recent progress in understanding the function and regulation of human Cds1. BioEssays 24:502–511, 2002. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.