The fibronectin (FN) gene has become paradigmatic to illustrate genome evolution by exon shuffling, generation of protein diversity by alternative mRNA splicing, and topological coordination between transcription and splicing. Alternative splicing in three sites of the primary transcript gives rise to multiple FN polypeptides. This process is cell type-, development- and age-regulated. The different FN variants seem to play specific roles in FN dimer secretion, blood clotting, adhesion to lymphoid cells, skin wound healing, atherosclerosis, and liver fibrosis. This review focuses on function assignment to the alternatively spliced segments, as well as on the external signals and cis-acting sequences that control the mechanisms of alternative splicing. We also discuss FN transcriptional regulation in response to viral transformation, growth factors, and cyclic AMP in the light of promoter architecture and its interaction with specific transcription factors. The relevance of FN RNA "tracks" as assembly lines of coordinated transcription and RNA processing is also addressed.