Members of the Wnt family of secreted glycoproteins participate in many signalling events during development. Recent findings suggest that Wnt signals can sometimes play a permissive role during cell-fate assignment. Wnt proteins have been shown to interact with a number of extracellular and cell-surface proteins, whereas many intracellular components of the Wnt-signalling pathway are also involved in other cellular functions. The consequences of Wnt signalling can be affected by members of the MAP kinase family. These observations suggest that the future understanding of Wnt signalling may require models that are based on a signalling network rather than a single linear pathway.