Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the scourge of humanity, is one of the most successful and scientifically challenging pathogens of all time. To catalyze the conception of new prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against tuberculosis, and to enhance our understanding of the biology of the tubercle bacillus, the complete genome sequence of the most widely used strain, H37Rv, has been determined. Bioinformatic analysis led to the identification of approximately 4,000 genes in the 4.41 Mb genome sequence and provided fresh insight into the biochemistry, physiology, genetics and immunology of this much-feared bacterium. Genomic information is centralised in TubercuList (http://www.pasteur.fr/Biol/TubercuList/).