Genomic imprinting, an epigenetic gene-marking phenomenon that occurs in the germline, leads to parental-origin-specific expression of a small subset of genes in mammals. Imprinting has a great impact on normal mammalian development, fetal growth, metabolism and adult behavior. The epigenetic imprints regarding the parental origin are established during male and female gametogenesis, passed to the zygote through fertilization, maintained throughout development and adult life, and erased in primordial germ cells before the new imprints are set. In this review, we focus on the recent discoveries on the mechanisms involved in the reprogramming and maintenance of the imprints. We also discuss the epigenetic changes that occur at imprinted loci in induced pluripotent stem cells. © 2011 IBCB, SIBS, CAS All rights reserved.