In 1998 Cereon Genomics LLC, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., performed a shotgun sequencing of the Arabidopsis thaliana Landsberg erecta genome to a depth of twofold coverage using ‘classic’ Sanger sequencing. This sequence was assembled and aligned to the Columbia ecotype sequence produced by the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative. The analysis provided tens of thousands of high-confidence predictions of polymorphisms between these two varieties of A. thaliana, and the predicted polymorphisms and Landsberg erecta sequence were subsequently made available to the not-for-profit research community by Monsanto. These data have been used for a wide variety of published studies, including map-based gene identification from forward genetic screens, studies of recombination and organelle genetics, and gene expression studies. The combination of resequencing approaches with next-generation sequencing technology has led to an increasing number of similar studies of genome-wide genetic diversity in A. thaliana, including the 1001 genomes project (http://1001genomes.org). Similar approaches are becoming possible in any number of crop species as DNA sequencing costs plummet and throughput rapidly increases, promising to lay the groundwork for revolutionizing our understanding of the relationship between genotype and phenotype in plants.