A common mechanism has emerged for the control of the initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication. The minichromosome maintenance protein complex (MCM) and Cdc45 have now been recognized as central components of the initiation machinery. In addition, two types of S phase promoting kinases conserved between yeast and humans play critical roles in the initiation reaction. At the onset of S phase, S phase kinases promote the association of Cdc45 with MCM at origins. Upon the formation of the MCM-Cdc45 complex at origins, the duplex DNA is unwound and various replication proteins, including DNA polymerases, are recruited onto unwound DNA. The increasing number of newly identified factors involved in the initiation reaction indicates that the control of initiation requires highly evolved machinery in eukaryotic cells.