Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions in which the development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical. Many of the genes required for gonad development have been identified by analysis of DSD patients. However, the use of knockout and transgenic mouse strains have contributed enormously to the study of gonad gene function and interactions within the development network. Although the genetic basis of mammalian sex determination and differentiation has advanced considerably in recent years, a majority of 46,XY gonadal dysgenesis patients still cannot be provided with an accurate diagnosis. Some of these unexplained DSD cases may be due to mutations in novel DSD genes or genomic rearrangements affecting regulatory regions that lead to atypical gene expression. Here, we review our current knowledge of mammalian sex determination drawing on insights from human DSD patients and mouse models.