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A better understanding of the molecular aspects of arthropod vector biology and the processes that determine pathogen transmission can lead to the development of novel or improved control methods for vectors and vector-borne diseases. The 'omics' era provides unprecedented opportunities to explore these aspects of vectors and the diseases which they transmit. This review aims to summarise recent developments in the field of vector genomics and to provide basic insight into the application of functional genetic tools such as RNA interference, RNA sequencing and genetic transformation in vector control development.