The treatment of infections is increasingly compromised by the ability of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics through mutations or through the acquisition of resistance genes. Antibiotic resistance genes also have the potential to be used for bio-terror purposes through genetically modified organisms. In order to facilitate the identification and characterization of these genes, we have created a manually curated database--the Antibiotic Resistance Genes Database (ARDB)--unifying most of the publicly available information on antibiotic resistance. Each gene and resistance type is annotated with rich information, including resistance profile, mechanism of action, ontology, COG and CDD annotations, as well as external links to sequence and protein databases. Our database also supports sequence similarity searches and implements an initial version of a tool for characterizing common mutations that confer antibiotic resistance. The information we provide can be used as compendium of antibiotic resistance factors as well as to identify the resistance genes of newly sequenced genes, genomes, or metagenomes. Currently, ARDB contains resistance information for 13,293 genes, 377 types, 257 antibiotics, 632 genomes, 933 species and 124 genera. ARDB is available at http://ardb.cbcb.umd.edu/.