Entry into the cell cycle, in particular the G1/S transition, is a tightly regulated process that involves a combination of mitogenic signaling pathways and cell cycle checkpoints. Some of the key regulators of this process are frequently altered in human cancer. Although the proteins that control the G1/S transition have been extensively studied at the biochemical level, little is known regarding their physiological role in vivo. During the last few years, a series of mouse strains carrying gene targeted mutations in key regulators of the G1/S transition have been generated. They include the Rb family of proteins and some of their downstream and upstream regulators. The latter include the regulatory (cyclin) and catalytic (Cdk) subunits of some of the kinases responsible for Rb inactivation as well as all the members of two families of cell cycle inhibitors, the INK4 and the Cip/Kip proteins. In this review, we summarize the most relevant information derived from the characterization of these strains of mice and attempt to integrate it within a functional framework of cell cycle regulation in vivo.