Campylobacter fetus infection is a substantial problem in herds of domestic cattle worldwide and a rising threat in human disease. Application of comparative and functional genomics approaches will be essential to understand the molecular basis of this pathogen's interactions with various hosts. Here we report recent progress in genome analyses of C. fetus ssp. fetus and C. fetus ssp. venerealis, and the development of molecular tools to determine the genetic basis of niche-specific adaptations. Campylobacter research has been strengthened by the rapid advancements in imaging technology occurring throughout microbiology. To move forward in understanding the mechanisms underlying C. fetus virulence, current efforts focus on developing suitable in vitro models to reflect host- and tissue-specific aspects of infection.