Notch proteins influence cell-fate decisions in many developing systems. Several gain-of-function studies have suggested a critical role for Notch 1 signaling in CD4-CD8 lineage commitment, maturation and survival in the thymus. However, we show here that tissue-specific inactivation of the gene encoding Notch 1 in immature (CD25+CD44-)T cell precursors does not affect subsequent thymocyte development. Neither steady-state numbers nor the rate of production of CD4+ and CD8+ mature thymocytes is perturbed in the absence of Notch 1. In addition, Notch 1-deficient thymocytes are normally sensitive to spontaneous or glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis. In contrast to earlier reports, these data formally exclude an essential role for Notch 1 in CD4-CD8 lineage commitment, maturation or survival.