Citrus is one of the most widespread fruit crops globally, with great economic and health value. It is among the most difficult plants to improve through traditional breeding approaches. Currently, there is risk of devastation by diseases threatening to limit production and future availability to the human population. As technologies rapidly advance in genomic science, they are quickly adapted to address the biological challenges of the citrus plant system and the world's industries. The historical developments of linkage mapping, markers and breeding, EST projects, physical mapping, an international citrus genome sequencing project, and critical functional analysis are described. Despite the challenges of working with citrus, there has been substantial progress. Citrus researchers engaged in international collaborations provide optimism about future productivity and contributions to the benefit of citrus industries worldwide and to the human population who can rely on future widespread availability of this health-promoting and aesthetically pleasing fruit crop.