The genetic architecture of blood pressure is slowly becoming clearer with the advent of very large genome wide association studies (GWAS) and gene-focused sequencing. These studies reveal that there seem to be 2 types of DNA variants affecting blood pressure in the general community. The first are common variants in non-coding DNA that individually account for less than 1 mmHg. The second are rare variants in coding sequences that account for up to 6 mmHg. However, to date the discovered variants account for only a tiny proportion of the expected genetic determinants of blood pressure in a population. The missing elements are likely to be difficult to find because their individual effects on blood pressure are very small, possibly less than 0.1 mmHg. These revelations have important implications for the way in which genetic information might be used, as well as for the direction which research should take to achieve useful endpoints to reduce blood pressure and its cardiovascular complications.