The Wnt pathway is a major embryonic signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation, cell fate, and body-axis determination in vertebrate embryos. Soon after egg fertilization, Wnt pathway components play a role in microtubule-dependent dorsoventral axis specification. Later in embryogenesis, another conserved function of the pathway is to specify the anteroposterior axis. The dual role of Wnt signaling in Xenopus and zebrafish embryos is regulated at different developmental stages by distinct sets of Wnt target genes. This review highlights recent progress in the discrimination of different signaling branches and the identification of specific pathway targets during vertebrate axial development.