The evolution of complex animals such as insects and mammals is achieved with surprisingly few additions in protein coding genes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of noncoding RNAs, have emerged as important regulators of organogenesis in insects, fish and mammals. The microRNA repertoire of animals has expanded significantly during evolution especially in vertebrates, insects and nematodes, accompanying the appearance of complex body plans. MicroRNAs therefore have gained enormous interest in recent years. They are now regarded as key modulators of gene expression in many tissues during embryogenesis, in adult organisms and in disease processes. Therefore, these small RNA molecules have entered the center stage of molecular biology and are promising candidates not only for the regulation of key biological processes such as proliferation and apoptosis, but also for therapy of human diseases.