Old World camels have come into the focus as sustainable livestock species, unique in their morphological and physiological characteristics and capable of providing vital products even under extreme environmental conditions. The evolutionary history of dromedary and Bactrian camels traces back to the middle Eocene (around 40 million years ago, mya), when the ancestors of Camelus emerged on the North American continent. While the genetic status of the two domestic species has long been established, the wild two-humped camel has only recently been recognized as a separate species, Camelus ferus, based on molecular genetic data. The demographic history established from genome drafts of Old World camels shows the independent development of the three species over the last 100,000 years with severe bottlenecks occurring during the last glacial period and in the recent past. Ongoing studies involve the immune system, relevant production traits, and the global population structure and domestication of Old World camels. Based on the now available whole genome drafts, specific metabolic pathways have been described shedding new light on the camels' ability to adapt to desert environments. These new data will also be at the origin for genome-wide association studies to link economically relevant phenotypes to genotypes and to conserve the diverse genetic resources in Old World camelids.