The plant life cycle involves a series of developmental phase transitions. These transitions require the regulation and highly co-ordinated expression of many genes. Epigenetic controls have now been shown to be a key element of this mechanism of regulation. In the model plant Arabidopsis, recent genetic and molecular studies on chromatin have begun to dissect the molecular basis of these epigenetic controls. Chromatin dynamics represent the emerging and exciting field of gene regulation notably involved in plant developmental transitions. By comparing plant and animal systems, new insights into the molecular complexes and mechanisms governing development can be delineated. We are now beginning to identify the components of chromatin complexes and their functions.