Actinomycetes are prolific producers of natural products with a wide range of biological activities. Many of the compounds that they make (and derivatives thereof) are used extensively in medicine, most notably as clinically important antibiotics, and in agriculture. Moreover, these organisms remain a source of novel and potentially useful molecules, but maximizing their biosynthetic potential requires a better understanding of natural product biosynthesis. Recent developments in genome sequencing have greatly facilitated the identification of natural product biosynthetic gene clusters. In the present article, I summarize the recent contributions of our laboratory in applying genomic technologies to better understand and manipulate natural product biosynthesis in a range of different actinomycetes.