Ovulation is a complex process that is initiated by the lutenizing hormone surge and is controlled by the temporal and spatial expression of specific genes. This review focuses on recent endocrine, biochemical, and genetic information that has been derived largely from the identification of new genes that are expressed in the ovary, and from knowledge gained by the targeted deletion of genes that appear to impact the ovulation process. Two main areas are described in most detail. First, because mutant mouse models indicate that appropriate formation of the cumulus matrix is essential for successful ovulation, genes expressed in the cumulus cells and those that control cumulus expansion are discussed. Second, because mice null for the progesterone receptor fail to ovulate and are ideal models for dissecting the critical events downstream of progesterone receptor, genes expressed in mural granulosa cells that regulate the expression of novel proteases are described.