Lamins are nuclear intermediate filament proteins. They provide mechanical stability, organize chromatin and regulate transcription, replication, nuclear assembly and nuclear positioning. Recent studies provide new insights into the role of lamins in development, differentiation and tissue response to mechanical, reactive oxygen species and thermal stresses. These studies also propose the existence of separate filament networks for A- and B-type lamins and identify new roles for the different networks. Furthermore, they show changes in lamin composition in different cell types, propose explanations for the more than 14 distinct human diseases caused by lamin A and lamin C mutations and propose a role for lamin B1 in these diseases.