Unlike nuclear genes and genomes, the inheritance of organelle genes and genomes does not follow Mendel's laws. In this mini-review, I summarize recent research progress on the patterns and mechanisms of the inheritance of organelle genes and genomes. While most sexual eukaryotes show uniparental inheritance of organelle genes and genomes in some progeny at least part of the time, increasing evidence indicates that strictly uniparental inheritance is rare and that organelle inheritance patterns are very diverse and complex. In contrast with the predominance of uniparental inheritance in multicellular organisms, organelle genes in eukaryotic microorganisms, such as protists, algae, and fungi, typically show a greater diversity of inheritance patterns, with sex-determining loci playing significant roles. The diverse patterns of inheritance are matched by the rich variety of potential mechanisms. Indeed, many factors, both deterministic and stochastic, can influence observed patterns of organelle inheritance. Interestingly, in multicellular organisms, progeny from interspecific crosses seem to exhibit more frequent paternal leakage and biparental organelle genome inheritance than those from intraspecific crosses. The recent observation of a sex-determining gene in the basidiomycete yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, which controls mitochondrial DNA inheritance, has opened up potentially exciting research opportunities for identifying specific molecular genetic pathways that control organelle inheritance, as well as for testing evolutionary hypotheses regarding the prevalence of uniparental inheritance of organelle genes and genomes.Key words: isogamy, anisogamy, paternal leakage, mating type, quantitative organelle inheritance.