Despite the availability of several completely sequenced genomes, we are still, for the most part, ignorant about how genes interact and regulate each other within a given cell type to specify identity, function and cellular memory. A realistic model of cellular regulation based on current knowledge indicates that many interacting networks operate at the epigenetic, transcriptional, translational and post-translational levels, with feedback between the various levels. Protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions help to define which genes may be activated in a particular cell, and determine whether external cues cause activation or repression. New technologies, e.g. proteomics using mass spectrometry, high-density DNA or oligonucleotide microarrays (chips), and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), provide new and exciting tools for deciphering the pathways and proteins controlling gene expression. Analysis of these pathways offers new insight that aids targeted drug development.