Purine and pyrimidine nucleotides have important functions in a multitude of biochemical and developmental processes during the life cycle of a plant. In higher plants the processes of nucleotide metabolism are poorly understood, but it is in principle accepted that nucleotides are essential constituents of fundamental biological functions. Despite of its significance, higher plant nucleotide metabolism has been poorly explored during the last 10-20 years (Suzuki and Takahashi 1977, Schubert 1986, Wagner and Backer 1992). But considerable progress was made on purine biosynthesis in nodules of ureide producing tropical legumes, where IMP-synthesis plays a dominant role in primary nitrogen metabolism (Atkins and Smith 2000, Smith and Atkins 2002). Besides these studies on tropical legumes, this review emphasises on progress made in analysing the function in planta of genes involved in purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis and their impact on metabolism and development.