The MADS domain (MCM1, AGAMOUS, DEFICIENS, and SRF, serum response factor) is a conserved DNA-binding/dimerization region present in a variety of transcription factors from different kingdoms. MADS box genes represent a large multigene family in vascular plants. In angiosperms, many of the genes of the MADS family are involved in different steps of flower development, most notably in the determination of floral meristem and organ identity. The roles that MADS box genes play, however, are not restricted to control the development of the plant reproductive structures. The genetic, molecular, and biochemical basis of the action of the MADS domain proteins in the plant life cycle are reviewed here.