To ward off a wide variety of pathogens, the human adaptive immune system harbors a vast array of T-cell receptors (TCRs) and B-cell receptors (BCRs), collectively referred to as the immune repertoire. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) of TCR/BCR genes allows in-depth molecular analysis of T/B-cell clones, providing an unprecedented level of detail when examining the T/B-cell repertoire of individuals. It can evaluate TCR/BCR complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) diversity and assess the clonal composition, including the size of the repertoire; similarities between repertoires; V(D)J segment use; nucleotide insertions and deletions; CDR3 lengths; and amino acid distributions along the CDR3s at sequence-level resolution. Deep sequencing of B-cell and T-cell repertoires offers the potential for a quantitative understanding of the adaptive immune system in healthy and disease states. Recently, paired sequencing strategies have also been developed, which can provide information about the identity of immune receptor pairs encoded by individual T or B lymphocytes. HTS technology provides a previously unimaginable amount of sequence data, accompanied, however, by numerous challenges associated with error correction and interpretation that remain to be solved. The review details some of the technologies and some of the recent achievements in this field.Genes and Immunity advance online publication, 10 March 2016; doi:10.1038/gene.2016.9.