Parasitic nematodes are widespread and important pathogens of humans and other animals. The parasitic nematodes Strongyloides have an unusual life cycle in which there is a facultative free-living generation in addition to the obligate parasitic generation. The genomes of many species of parasitic nematodes, including Strongyloides ratti and Strongyloides stercoralis, have been investigated, principally by expressed sequence tag (EST) analyses. These have discovered very many genes from these parasites but, in so doing, have also revealed how different these species are from each other and from other organisms. Understanding the role and function of these newly discovered genes is now the challenge, made more difficult by the parasitic lifestyle. The genomic information available for parasitic nematodes is allowing new approaches for the control of parasitic nematodes to be considered.