Virulence factor database (VFDB) was set up in 2004 dedicated for providing current knowledge of virulence factors (VFs) from various medical significant bacterial pathogens to facilitate pathogenomic research. Nowadays, complete genome sequences of almost all the major pathogenic microbes have been determined, which makes comparative genomics a powerful approach for uncovering novel virulence determinants and hidden aspects of pathogenesis. VFDB was therefore upgraded to present the enormous diversity of bacterial genomes in terms of virulence genes and their organization. The VFDB 2008 release includes the following new features; (i) detailed tabular comparison of virulence composition of a given genome with other genomes of the same genus, (ii) multiple alignments and statistical analysis of homologous VFs and (iii) graphical comparison of genomic organizations of virulence genes. Comparative analysis of the numerous VFs will improve our understanding of the nature and evolution of virulence, as well as the development of new therapeutic and preventive strategies. VFDB 2008 release offers more user-friendly tools for comparative pathogenomics and it is publicly accessible at http://www.mgc.ac.cn/VFs/.