The existence of major genes affecting fecundity in sheep flocks throughout the world has been demonstrated. Three major genes whose mutations can increase ovulation rate have been discovered, and all related to the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) superfamily. The mutant of bone morphogenetic protein receptor 1B (BMPR1B) has an additive effect on ovulation rate. Six mutations ( , , , , , ) of bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) related with fertility have been identified that share the same mechanism. All the mutants can increase ovulation rate in heterozygotes and cause complete sterility in homozygotes. Homozygous ewes with two new mutations ( ) of BMP15 had increased ovulation rate without causing sterility. There are five mutations in growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) associated with sheep prolificacy where and have additive an effect on ovulation rate and litter size. The newly identified β-1,4-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 2 ( ) gene of is proposed as a new mechanism of ovulation rate regulation in sheep. is an X-linked maternally imprinted gene which increases ovulation rate. In addition, several putative major genes need to be verified. This review is focused on the identification of the mutations and mechanisms whereby the major genes affecting ovulation rate.