Telomeres of eukaryotic chromosomes contain 3' overhangs which are thought to be essential for the maintenance of proper chromosome end structure and function. We examined the requirement for telomerase activity for the generation of these G-strand overhangs in mammalian cells. Using non-denaturing in-gel hybridization to both tissue and cultured cells from mice deficient for the telomerase RNA component, we found that G-strand overhangs exist in the absence of telomerase activity. Quantitation of overhang signal intensity showed no significant reduction in telomerase-deficient cells relative to wild-type. These results support a telomerase-independent mechanism for generating G-strand overhangs.