The cytochromes P450 are a superfamily of hemoproteins that catalyze the metabolism of a large number of xenobiotics and endobiotics. The type and amount (i.e., the animal's phenotype) of the P450s expressed by the animal, primarily in the liver, thus determine the metabolic response of the animal to a chemical challenge. A majority of the characterized P450s involved in hepatic drug metabolism have been identified in experimental animals. However, recently at least 12 human drug-metabolizing P450s have been characterized at the molecular and/or enzyme level. The characterization of these P450s has made it possible to "phenotype" microsomal samples with respect to their relative levels of the various P450s and their metabolic capabilities. The purpose of this review is to compare and contrast the human P450s involved in drug metabolism with their related forms in the rat and other experimental species.