The majority of both spontaneous and DNA damage-induced mutations in eukaryotes result from replication processes in which DNA polymerase zeta (Polzeta) and Rev1 protein (Rev1p) play major roles. Understanding these roles is likely to provide information relevant to the origin of genetic diseases, such as cancer, and may provide new insights for their prevention. DNA Polzeta also appears to be involved in the somatic hypermutability that occurs during development of the immune response. The results from a variety of genetic and enzymological investigations have started to delineate the cellular roles of these enzymes, but a number of important issues have not yet been resolved and much remains to be learned. Questions concerning the possible existence of other subunits to these enzymes, of their possible association with one another or with other proteins, of the nature of their enzymatic activities and of the relative roles played by these and other DNA polymerases in the bypass of different kinds of DNA damage, require further investigation. Finally, very little is known about the way these enzymes are regulated and brought into play when needed.