Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and its reverse mechanism, mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), are evolutionarily conserved mechanisms initially identified in studies of early metazoan development. EMT may even have been established in choanoflagellates, the closest unicellular relative of Metazoa. These crucial morphological transitions operate during body plan formation and subsequently in organogenesis. These findings have prompted an increasing number of investigators in biomedicine to assess the importance of such mechanisms that drive epithelial cell plasticity in multiple diseases associated with congenital disabilities and fibrosis, and, most importantly, in the progression of carcinoma. EMT and MET also play crucial roles in regenerative medicine, notably by contributing epigenetic changes in somatic cells to initiate reprogramming into stem cells and their subsequent differentiation into distinct lineages.