High-throughput DNA analyses are increasingly being used to detect rare mutations in moderately sized genomes. These methods have yielded genome mutation rates that are markedly higher than those obtained using pre-genomic strategies. Recent work in a variety of organisms has shown that mutation rate is strongly affected by sequence context and genome position. These observations suggest that high-throughput DNA analyses will ultimately allow researchers to identify trans-acting factors and cis sequences that underlie mutation rate variation. Such work should provide insights on how mutation rate variability can impact genome organization and disease progression.