The positive selection of CD4 or CD8 single-positive mature peripheral T lymphocytes and the deletion of self-reactive cells are crucial for central tolerance in the peripheral immune system. Previously, the guanine nucleotide binding protein Rac-1 has been shown to control pre-T cell development. The present report now describes the actions of Rac-1 in thymocyte selection. The study reveals that this molecule has the striking and unique ability to efficiently divert cells from positive selection into a pathway of negative selection and deletion. The ability of Rac-1 to switch thymocytes from a destiny of positive to negative selection identifies this molecule as a critical regulator of the developmental processes in T cells that are essential for immune homeostasis.