Recent developments in genomic resources and high-throughput transgenesis techniques have allowed Xenopus to ‘metamorphose’ from a classic model for embryology to a leading-edge experimental system for functional genomics. This process has incorporated the fast-breeding diploid frog, Xenopus tropicalis, as a new model-system for vertebrate genomics and genetics. Sequencing of the X. tropicalis genome is nearly complete, and its comparison with mammalian sequences offers a reliable guide for the genome-wide prediction of cis-regulatory elements. Unique cDNA sets have been generated for both X. tropicalis and X. laevis, which have facilitated non-redundant, systematic gene expression screening and comprehensive gene expression analysis. A variety of transgenesis techniques are available for both X. laevis and X. tropicalis, and the appropriate procedure may be chosen depending on the purpose for which it is required. Effective use of these resources and techniques will help to reveal the overall picture of the complex wiring of gene regulatory networks that control vertebrate development.