DNA replication is tightly controlled in eukaryotic cells to ensure that an exact copy of the genetic material is inherited by both daughter cells. Oscillating waves of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) and anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) activities provide a binary switch that permits the replication of each chromosome exactly once per cell cycle. Work from several organisms has revealed a conserved strategy whereby inactive replication complexes are assembled onto DNA during periods of low CDK and high APC activity but are competent to execute genome duplication only when these activities are reversed. Periods of high CDK and low APC/C serve an essential function by blocking reassembly of replication complexes, thereby preventing rereplication. Higher eukaryotes have evolved additional CDK-independent mechanisms for preventing rereplication.