Erich Brenner asked us more than a year ago whether we could contribute to the special issue about human lymph vessels he was editing for Annals of Anatomy. We agreed that we might be able to contribute a minireview. In the beginning, I was also hesitating, because Annals of Anatomy is not per se an open access journal. However, our university has meanwhile started to cover the article processing charges (APCs) for several publishers (including the biggest scientific publisher on this planet - Elsevier) to make articles open access. Thus, everybody can not only read the article already now, but also share, copy and redistribute it, remix, transform, and build upon it for any purpose, even for commercial purposes as long as we - the original authors - are credited. The target audience is not the lymphatic research community, but outsiders, who need a first, very brief introduction to the molecules that are most central to the molecular biology of the lymphatic system. The selection is clearly biased by our own research history. Please write us an angry e-mail if we did not include your pet protein! If you convince us that your pet protein is central to lymphatic development or function, we'll include it in our next review!