Geminin is an important regulator of proliferation and differentiation in metazoans, which predominantly inhibits the DNA replication licensing factor Cdt1, preventing genome over-replication. We show that Geminin preferentially forms stable coiled-coil heterodimers with its homologue, Idas. In contrast to Idas-Geminin heterodimers, Idas homodimers are thermodynamically unstable and are unlikely to exist as a stable macromolecule under physiological conditions. The crystal structure of the homology regions of Idas in complex with Geminin showed a tight head-to-head heterodimeric coiled-coil. This Idas-Geminin heterodimer binds Cdt1 less strongly than Geminin-Geminin, still with high affinity (∼30 nm), but with notably different thermodynamic properties. Consistently, in Xenopus egg extracts, Idas-Geminin is less active in licensing inhibition compared with a Geminin-Geminin homodimer. In human cultured cells, ectopic expression of Idas leads to limited over-replication, which is counteracted by Geminin co-expression. The properties of the Idas-Geminin complex suggest it as the functional form of Idas and provide a possible mechanism to modulate Geminin activity.