The BRCT domain is found predominantly in proteins involved in cell cycle checkpoint functions responsive to DNA damage. The BRCT domain of XRCC1 forms a homodimer in the crystal structure. This suggests that pairs of BRCT domains associate as homo- or heterodimers. BRCT domains are often found as tandem-repeat pairs. Structures of the BRCA1 BRCT domains revealed a basis for a widely utilized head-to-tail BRCT-BRCT oligomerization mode. This conserved tandem BRCT architecture facilitates formation of the canonical BRCT phospho-peptide interaction cleft at a groove between the BRCT domains. Disease associated missense and nonsense mutations in the BRCA1 BRCT domains disrupt peptide binding by directly occluding this peptide binding groove, or by disrupting key conserved BRCT core folding determinants.