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Chromosome alignment on the mitotic spindle is monitored by the spindle checkpoint. We identify Sgo1, a protein involved in meiotic chromosome cohesion, as a spindle checkpoint component. Budding yeast cells with mutations in SGO1 respond normally to microtubule depolymerization but not to lack of tension at the kinetochore, and they have difficulty attaching sister chromatids to opposite poles of the spindle. Sgo1 is thus required for sensing tension between sister chromatids during mitosis, and its degradation when they separate may prevent cell cycle arrest and chromosome loss in anaphase, a time when sister chromatids are no longer under tension.