Cleavage of chromosomal DNA into oligonucleosomal size fragments is an integral part of apoptosis. Elegant biochemical work identified the DNA fragmentation factor (DFF) as a major apoptotic endonuclease for DNA fragmentation in vitro. Genetic studies in mice support the importance of DFF in DNA fragmentation and possibly in apoptosis in vivo. Recent work also suggests the existence of additional endonucleases for DNA degradation. Understanding the roles of individual endonucleases in apoptosis, and how they might coordinate to degrade DNA in different tissues during normal development and homeostasis, as well as in various diseased states, will be a major research focus in the near future.