In contrast to the great majority of mycobacterial species that are harmless saprophytes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other closely related tubercle bacilli have evolved to be among the most important human and animal pathogens. The need to develop new strategies in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) and related diseases has fuelled research into the evolutionary success of the M. tuberculosis complex members. Amongst the various disciplines, genomics and functional genomics have been instrumental in improving our understanding of these organisms. In this review we will present some of the recent key findings on molecular determinants of mycobacterial pathogenicity and attenuation, the evolution of M. tuberculosis, genome dynamics, antigen mining for improved diagnostic and subunit antigens, and finally the identification of novel drug targets. The genomics revolution has changed the landscape of TB research, and now underpins our renewed efforts to defeat this deadly pathogen.