Aliphatic polycarbonates (APCs) were discovered a long time ago, with their conventional applications mostly limited to low-molecular-weight oligomeric intermediates for copolymerization with other prepolymers or small molecules. Recent developments in polymerization techniques have overcome the difficulty in preparing high-molecular-weight APCs. These in turn, along with new functional monomers, have enabled the preparation of a wide range of APCs with diverse chemical compositions and structures. This review summarizes the latest polymerization techniques for preparing well-defined functional APCs and the new applications of those APCs, especially in the biomedical field. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 39822.