The RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases RNF8 and RNF168 recruit DNA damage response (DDR) factors to chromatin flanking DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) including 53BP1, which protects DNA ends from resection during DNA DSB repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Deficiency of RNF8 or RNF168 does not lead to demonstrable NHEJ defects, but like deficiency of 53BP1, the combined deficiency of XLF and RNF8 or RNF168 leads to diminished NHEJ in lymphocytes arrested in G0/G1 phase. The function of RNF8 in NHEJ depends on its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Loss of RNF8 or RNF168 in G0/G1-phase lymphocytes leads to the resection of broken DNA ends, demonstrating that RNF8 and RNF168 function to protect DNA ends from nucleases, pos sibly through the recruitment of 53BP1. However, the loss of 53BP1 leads to more severe resection than the loss of RNF8 or RNF168. Moreover, in 53BP1-deficient cells, the loss of RNF8 or RNF168 leads to diminished DNA end resection. We conclude that RNF8 and RNF168 regulate pathways that both prevent and promote DNA end resection in cells arrested in G0/G1 phase.