"Reverse genetics" or de novo synthesis of nonsegmented negative-sense RNA viruses (Mononegavirales) from cloned cDNA has become a reliable technique to study this group of medically important viruses. Since the first generation of a negative-sense RNA virus entirely from cDNA in 1994, reverse genetics systems have been established for members of most genera of the Rhabdo-, Paramyxo-, and Filoviridae families. These systems are based on intracellular transcription of viral full-length RNAs and simultaneous expression of viral proteins required to form the typical viral ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP). These systems are powerful tools to study all aspects of the virus life cycle as well as the roles of virus proteins in virus-host interplay and pathogenicity. In addition, recombinant viruses can be designed to have specific properties that make them attractive as biotechnological tools and live vaccines.