Gravity is a constant stimulus for life on Earth and most organisms have evolved structures to sense gravitational force and incorporate its influence into their behavioral repertoire. Here we focus attention on animals and their diverse structures for perceiving and responding to the gravitational vector-one of the few static reference stimuli for any mobile organism. We discuss vertebrate, arthropod, and nematode models from the perspective of the role that genetics is playing in our understanding of graviperception in each system. We describe the key sensory structures in each class of organism and present what is known about the genetic control of development of these structures and the molecular signaling pathways operating in the mature organs. We also discuss the role of large genetic screens in identifying specific genes with roles in mechanosensation and graviperception.