The mesoderm- and muscle-specific expression of microRNAs observed in a wide range of organisms suggests that post-transcriptional regulation by microRNAs can contribute significantly to the regulation of muscle development and physiology. One of these microRNAs, miR-1, is among the most widely conserved microRNAs during evolution. Genetic inactivation of miR-1 in Drosophila has shown that miR-1 is essential for maintaining the development and integrity of body wall muscles during phases of rapid growth, whereas it is not needed for normal mesoderm patterning and muscle specification. Expression analysis of a large set of potential miR-1 target mRNAs has revealed that these mRNAs tend to be expressed in non-muscle tissues, in patterns that are mutually exclusive with miR-1. Together, these findings lend support to the hypothesis that miR-1 exerts 'quality control' during muscle development by blocking detrimental mRNAs that are promiscuously expressed. Other miRNAs might promote specific developmental switches during the development and regeneration of muscles.