Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) cover a wide range of structural malformations that result from defects in the morphogenesis of the kidney and/or urinary tract. These anomalies account for about 40-50 % of children with chronic kidney disease worldwide. Knowledge from genetically modified mouse models suggests that single gene mutations in renal developmental genes may lead to CAKUT in humans. However, until recently, only a handful of CAKUT-causing genes were reported, most of them in familial syndromic cases. Recent findings suggest that CAKUT may arise from mutations in a multitude of different single gene causes. We focus here on single-gene causes of CAKUT and their developmental origin. Currently, more than 20 monogenic CAKUT-causing genes have been identified. High-throughput sequencing techniques make it likely that additional CAKUT-causing genes will be identified in the near future.