Metallophyte species that occur naturally on metal-enriched soils represent major biological resources for the improvement of phytoremediation, a benign and cost-effective technology that uses plants to clean up anthropogenic metal-polluted soils. Within the last decade, molecular genetic studies carried out on several model organisms (including Arabidopsis halleri) have considerably enhanced our understanding of metal tolerance and hyperaccumulation in plants, but the identification of the genes of interest for phytoremediation purposes remains a challenge. To meet this challenge, we propose to combine ‘-omics’ with molecular ecology methods. Using A. halleri, we confronted molecular genetic results with: (i) within-species polymorphism and large-scale population differentiation for zinc tolerance; (ii) the demographical context (e.g. migration pattern) of the species for zinc tolerance evolution; (iii) the Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis of the genetic architecture for zinc tolerance; and (iv) the fine-scale dissection of identified QTL regions, to discuss more precisely the nature of the genes potentially involved in the adaptation to zinc-polluted soils.