Auxin is an essential plant hormone that controls nearly every aspect of a plant's life, from embryo development to organ senescence. In the last decade the key genes involved in auxin transport, perception, signaling and response have been identified and characterized, but the elucidation of auxin biosynthesis has proven to be especially challenging. In plants, a significant amount of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), the predominant biologically active form of auxin, is synthesized via a simple two-step route where indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPyA) produced from l-tryptophan by tryptophan aminotransferases (TAA1/TAR) is converted to IAA by the YUC family of flavin monooxygenases. The TAA1/TAR and YUC gene families constitute the first complete auxin biosynthetic pathway described in plants. Detailed characterization of these genes' expression patterns suggested a key role of local auxin biosynthesis in plant development. This has prompted an active search for the molecular mechanisms that regulate the spatiotemporal activity of the IPyA route. In addition to the TAA1/TAR and YUC-mediated auxin biosynthesis, several alternative routes of IAA production have been postulated to function in plants, but their biological significance is yet to be demonstrated. Herein, we take a genetic perspective to describe the current view of auxin biosynthesis and its regulation in plants, focusing primarily on Arabidopsis.