TIGRFAMs is a collection of protein families featuring curated multiple sequence alignments, hidden Markov models and associated information designed to support the automated functional identification of proteins by sequence homology. We introduce the term 'equivalog' to describe members of a set of homologous proteins that are conserved with respect to function since their last common ancestor. Related proteins are grouped into equivalog families where possible, and otherwise into protein families with other hierarchically defined homology types. TIGRFAMs currently contains over 800 protein families, available for searching or downloading at www.tigr.org/TIGRFAMs. Classification by equivalog family, where achievable, complements classification by orthology, superfamily, domain or motif. It provides the information best suited for automatic assignment of specific functions to proteins from large-scale genome sequencing projects.