After synaptic vesicle exocytosis, synaptic vesicle proteins must be retrieved from the plasma membrane, sorted away from other membrane proteins, and reconstituted into a functional synaptic vesicle. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an organism well suited for a genetic analysis of this process. In particular, three types of genetic studies have contributed to our understanding of synaptic vesicle endocytosis. First, screens for mutants defective in synaptic vesicle recycling have identified new proteins that function specifically in neurons. Second, RNA interference has been used to quickly confirm the roles of known proteins in endocytosis. Third, gene targeting techniques have elucidated the roles of genes thought to play modulatory or subtle roles in synaptic vesicle recycling. We describe a molecular model for synaptic vesicle recycling and discuss how protein disruption experiments in C. elegans have contributed to this model.