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Aphids have long been of interest because of their complex life cycles, environmentally induced morphologies, and importance to agriculture. However, only recently has the resulting wealth of ecological and population genetic data begun to be supplemented by genomic and genetic mapping approaches. In 2004, the International Aphid Genomics Consortium, a collaboration of aphid researchers, chose to establish the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, as the aphid of choice for the development of genomic resources. Here we introduce the pea aphid and discuss a number of biological questions for which the species is well suited. We then review previous mapping and quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies, ending with a discussion of the genomic tools that are currently available, including the recently initiated genome-sequencing project.