The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is essential for progression through mitosis. At anaphase onset, the APC/C requires the activator protein CDC20 to target securin and cyclin B1 for proteasome-dependent degradation, but then depends on the CDC20-related protein FZR1 (also known as CDH1) to remain active until the onset of the next S phase. To investigate the role of FZR1 in mammalian cells, we used RNAi in human cell lines and conditional gene targeting in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. In neither case was FZR1 required for exit from mitosis, but in cells lacking FZR1, the G1 phase was shortened and the S phase was prolonged. In several normal and transformed human cell lines, loss of FZR1 function induced DNA-damage responses and impaired proliferation independently of the p53 status. Constitutive knockdown of p53 in U2OS cells with inducible FZR1 siRNA also failed to restore their proliferative capacity. Thus, the proliferation defects are a direct consequence of the genetic damage inflicted by loss of FZR1 function and are largely independent of p53. In summary, mammalian FZR1 is not required for the completion of mitosis, but is an important regulator of G1 phase and is required for efficient DNA replication in human and mouse somatic cells.