Development of an organ is directed by cell and tissue interactions and these also occur during the formation of functional kidney. During vertebrate development inductive signalling between mesenchyme and epithelium controls the organogenesis of all three kinds of kidneys: pronephros, mesonephros and metanephros. In higher animals the metanephros differentiates into the permanent kidney and in this review we will mainly concentrate on its development. Molecular interactions currently known to function during nephrogenesis have primarily been based on the use of knockout techniques. These studies have highlighted the role for transcription factors, signalling molecules, growth factors and their receptors and also for extracellular matrix components in kidney development. Finally in this review we will represent our own model for kidney development according to the knowledge of the genes involved in the development of the functional excretory organ, kidney.