Summary. Each day in every human, approximately 1 × 1011 platelets are produced by the cytoplasmic fragmentation of megakaryocytes (MK), their marrow precursor cells. Platelets are the predominating factor in the process of hemostasis and thrombosis. Recent studies have shown that platelets also play a hitherto unsuspected role in several other processes such as inflammation, innate immunity, neoangiogenesis and tumor metastasis. The late phases of MK differentiation identified by polyploidization, maturation and organized fragmentation of the cytoplasm leading to the release of platelets in the blood stream represent a unique model of differentiation. The molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating platelet biogenesis are better understood and may explain several platelet disorders. This review focuses on MK polyploidization, and platelet formation, and discusses their alteration in some platelet disorders.