States of terminal cell differentiation are often considered to be fixed. There are examples, however, in which cells of one type can be converted to a completely different cell type. The process whereby one cell type can be converted to another is referred to as cellular reprogramming. Cellular reprogramming is also referred to in the literature as transdifferentiation (or the direct conversion of one cell type to another without dedifferentiation to an intermediate cell type). Where the conversion between cell types occurs in the developing embryo, the process is referred to as transdetermination. Herein we examine some well-defined examples of transdetermination. Defining the molecular and cellular basis of transdetermination will help us to understand the normal developmental biology of the cells that interconvert, as well as identifying key regulatory transcription factors (master switch genes) that may be important for the reprogramming of stem cells. Harnessing the therapeutic potential of reprogramming and master genes is an important goal in regenerative medicine.