Cell division is an inherent part of organismal development, and defects in this process can lead to developmental abnormalities as well as cancerous growth. In past decades, much of the basic cell-cycle machinery has been identified, and a major challenge in coming years will be to understand the complex interplay between cell division and multicellular development. Inevitably, this requires the use of more complex multicellular model systems. The small nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an excellent model system to study the regulation of cell division in a multicellular organism, and is poised to make important contributions to this field. The past decade has already seen a surge in cell-cycle research in C. elegans, yielding information on the function of many basic cell-cycle regulators, and making inroads into the developmental control of cell division. This review focuses on the in vivo roles of cyclin-dependent kinases in C. elegans, and highlights novel findings implicating CDKs in coupling development to cell-cycle progression.