Despite its value as a crop and potential utility as an experimental system, relatively little is known about the molecular-genetic aspects of inheritance or physiology in the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria xananassa). This lack of information exists at a time when biotechnology may offer important remedies to address traditional and contemporary challenges that growers face. An improved understanding of genome structure will hasten the development of molecular markers and unveil clues to the composition of this unique, octoploid genome. Definition of gene function will guide the generation of transgenic resources for research use and possibly toward cultivar development. This review seeks to compile and present the current knowledge state of the molecular-genetic basis of cultivated strawberry genomic form and function. Ongoing studies promise to expand the use of genomic tools and appropriate model systems to rapidly discern the structural and functional basis for traits of interest to agriculture, such as those associated with disease, ripening, and volatile production. Together these studies bring new molecular tools to dissect complex traits, implement marker-assisted selection and address important physiological questions in the cultivated strawberry, the Fragariagenus, and the Rosaceae family.