Kidney development is a paradigm of how multiple cell types are integrated into highly specialized epithelial structures via various inductive events. A network of transcription factors and signaling pathways have been identified as crucial regulators. The recent discovery of a group of small, non-coding RNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs), has added a new layer of complexity. Studies using the pronephric kidney of Xenopus and the metanephric kidney of mouse have demonstrated that a tight regulation of mRNA stability and translation efficiency by miRNAs is very important as well. The interplay between miRNAs and the transcriptional network provides plasticity and robustness to the system. Importantly, miRNAs are not only necessary for early aspects of kidney development, but also later in life. As such they may provide a mean to maintain/modulate kidney function during homeostasis and injury.