Mechanisms that mediate the control of flowering time have been accessed through a molecular genetic approach in Arabidopsis. Flowering is regulated by different pathways and, in the past year, all of the known components of the so-called autonomous pathway have been identified. The autonomous pathway comprises a combination of factors involved in RNA processing and epigenetic regulation that downregulate the floral repressor, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). However, components of the autonomous pathway are more widely conserved in plant species other than Arabidopsis than is FLC. Therefore, the broadest lessons we learn from dissecting the function of the autonomous pathway may be in revealing how precision in regulated gene expression is delivered.