The conventional approach to vaccine development requires cultivation of the pathogenic microorganism and its dissection using biochemical, immunological, and microbiological methods in order to identify the components important for immunity. This method, while successful in many cases, failed to provide a solution for many of those pathogens for which a vaccine is not yet available. Today, the possibility of using genomic information allows us to study vaccine development in silico, without the need of cultivating the pathogen. This approach, which we have named 'reverse vaccinology', reduces the time required for the identification of candidate vaccines and provides new solutions for those vaccines which have been difficult or impossible to develop. The potential of this new approach is illustrated by the use of reverse vaccinology for the development of a vaccine against serogroup B meningococcus. The application of reverse vaccinology to other fields, including viral vaccines is discussed.