Cilia are found in many eukaryotic species and share a common microtubule architecture that can nonetheless show very diverse features within one animal. The genesis of cilia and their diversity require the expression of different specific genes. At least two classes of transcription factors are involved in ciliogenesis: the RFX family, essential for the assembly of most cilia and the FOXJ1 transcription factors that are key regulators of motile cilia assembly. These two different families of transcription factors have both specific and common target genes and they can also cooperate for the formation of cilia. In collaboration with cell type specific factors, they also contribute to the specialisation of cilia. As a consequence, the identification of RFX and FOXJ1 target genes has emerged as an efficient strategy to identify novel ciliary genes, and in particular genes potentially implicated in ciliopathies.