How centrosome removal or perturbations of centrosomal proteins leads to G1 arrest in untransformed mammalian cells has been a mystery. We use microsurgery and laser ablation to remove the centrosome from two types of normal human cells. First, we find that the cells assemble centrioles de novo after centrosome removal; thus, this phenomenon is not restricted to transformed cells. Second, normal cells can progress through G1 in its entirety without centrioles. Therefore, the centrosome is not a necessary, integral part of the mechanisms that drive the cell cycle through G1 into S phase. Third, we provide evidence that centrosome loss is, functionally, a stress that can act additively with other stresses to arrest cells in G1 in a p38-dependent fashion.