The regulation of mRNA decay is a major control point in gene expression. The stability of a particular mRNA is controlled by specific interactions between its structural elements and RNA-binding proteins that can be general or mRNA-specific. Regulated mRNA stability is achieved through fluctuations in half-lives in response to developmental or environmental stimuli like nutrient levels, cytokines, hormones and temperature shifts as well as environmental stresses like hypoxia, hypocalcemia, viral infection, and tissue injury. Furthermore, in specific disorders like some forms of neoplasia, thalassemia and Alzheimer's disease, deregulated mRNA stability can lead to the aberrant accumulation of mRNAs and the proteins they encode. This review presents a discussion of some recently identified examples of regulated and deregulated mRNA stability in order to illustrate the diversity of genes regulated by alterations in the degradation rates of their mRNAs.