Recent advances in genetics have been enabled by new genetic sequencing techniques called massively parallel sequencing (MPS) or next-generation sequencing. Through the ability to sequence in parallel hundreds of thousands to millions of DNA fragments, the cost and time required for sequencing has dramatically decreased. There are a number of different MPS platforms currently available and being used in Australia. Although they differ in the underlying technology involved, their overall processes are very similar: DNA fragmentation, adaptor ligation, immobilisation, amplification, sequencing reaction and data analysis. MPS is being used in research, translational and increasingly now also in clinical settings. Common applications include sequencing of whole genomes, whole exomes or targeted genes for disease-causing gene discovery, genetic diagnosis and targeted cancer therapy. Even though the revolution that is occurring with MPS is exciting due to its increasing use, improving and emerging technologies and new applications, significant challenges still exist. Particularly challenging issues are the bioinformatics required for data analysis, interpretation of results and the ethical dilemma of 'incidental findings'.