MicroRNAs are abundant in the brains of vertebrates and some show a brain-specific or brain-enriched expression pattern. Because microRNAs regulate the expression of hundreds of target genes, it is not surprising that they have profoundly important functions in brain development and pathological processes. For example, miR-124 plays an important role in inducing and maintaining neuronal identity through targeting at least two anti-neural factors. MicroRNAs have also been implicated in brain disorders, including brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases. This review aims to present an overview of the expression profiles and functions of microRNAs in the developing brains of vertebrates.