Amino acid metabolism is a fundamental process for plant growth and development. Although a considerable amount of information is available, little is known about the genetic control of enzymatic steps or regulation of several pathways. Much of the information about biochemical pathways has arisen from the use of mutants lacking key enzymes. Although mutants were largely used already in the 60's, by bacterial and fungal geneticists, it took plant research a long time to catch up. The advance in this area was rapid in the 80's, which was followed in the 90's by the development of techniques of plant transformation. In this review we present an overview of the aspartic acid metabolic pathway, the key regulatory enzymes and the mutants and transgenic plants produced for lysine and threonine metabolism. We also discuss and propose a new study of high-lysine mutants.