This paper reports on a new role for mei-41 in cell cycle control during meiosis. This function is revealed by the requirement of mei-41 for the precocious anaphase observed in crossover-defective mutants. Normally in Drosophila oocytes, tension on the meiotic spindle causes a metaphase I arrest. This tension results because crossovers, and the resulting chiasmata, hold homologs together that are being pulled by kinetochore microtobules toward opposite spindle poles. In the absence of tension, such as in a recombination-defective mutant, metaphase arrest is not observed and meiosis proceeds through the two divisions. Here we show that in some recombination-defective mutants, the precocious anaphase requires the mei-41 gene product. For example, metaphase arrest is not observed in mei-218 mutants because of the severe reduction in crossing over. In mei-41 mei-218 double mutants, however, metaphase arrest was restored. The effect of mei-41 is dependent on double-strand break formation. Thus, in mutants that fail to initiate meiotic recombination the absence of mei-41 has no effect.