Most but not all phyla include examples of species that are able to regenerate large sections of the body plan. The mechanisms underlying regeneration on this scale are currently being studied in a variety of contexts in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Regeneration generally involves the formation of a wound epithelium after transection or injury, followed by the generation of regenerative progenitor cells and morphogenesis to give the regenerate. Common mechanisms may exist in relation to each of these aspects. For example, the initial proliferation of progenitor cells often depends on the nerve supply, whereas morphogenesis reflects the generation of positional disparity between adjacent cells-the principle of intercalation. These mechanisms are reviewed here across a range of contexts. We also consider the evolutionary origins of regeneration and how regeneration may relate to both agametic reproduction and to ontogeny.