Mitochondria adopt a variety of different shapes in eukaryotic cells, ranging from multiple, small compartments to elaborate tubular networks. The establishment and maintenance of different mitochondrial morphologies depends, in part, on the equilibrium between opposing fission and fusion events. Recent studies in yeast, flies, worms and mammalian cells indicate that three high-molecular-weight GTPases control mitochondrial membrane dynamics. One of these is a dynamin-related GTPase that acts on the outer mitochondrial membrane to regulate fission. Recently, genetic approaches in budding yeast have identified additional components of the fission machinery. These and other new findings suggest a common mechanism for membrane fission events that has been conserved and adapted during eukaryotic evolution.