We report that the human gene SB1.8 (DXS423E) encodes a protein of 1233 amino acids that is highly homologous (30% Identity) to the essential yeast protein SMC1 which is required for the segregation of chromosomes at mitosis. Both SB1.8 and SMC1 contain an N-terminal NTP binding site, a central coiled-coil region and a C-terminal helix-loop-helix domain, and have structural features in common with the force generating proteins myosin and kinesin. SB1.8 also exhibits regions of homology and overall structural similarity to the prokaryote (Mycoplasma hyorhinis) protein 115p. Thus SB1.8 and SMC1 are members of a highly conserved and ubiquitous family of proteins that appear to have a fundamental role In cell division. In addition we show that SB1.8 (DXS423E) maps to a cosmid contig that lies centromeric to the OATL2 locus at chromosome Xp11.2.