Trace amines such as p-tyramine and beta-phenylethylamine are found endogenously as well as in the diet. Concomitant ingestion of these foodstuffs with monoamine oxidase inhibitors may result in the hypertensive crisis known as the "beer, wine, and cheese effect" attributed to their sympathomimetic action. Trace amines have been shown to act on one of a novel group of mammalian seven transmembrane spanning G protein-coupled receptors belonging to the rhodopsin superfamily, cloned in 2001. This receptor encoded by the human TAAR1 gene is also present in rat and mouse genomes (Taar1) and has been shown to be activated by endogenous trace amine ligands, including p-tyramine and beta-phenylethylamine. A number of drugs, most notably amphetamine and its derivatives, act as agonists at this receptor. This review proposes an official nomenclature designating TAAR1 as the trace amine 1 receptor following the convention of naming receptors after the endogenous agonist, abbreviated to TA(1) where necessary. It goes on to discuss briefly the significance of the receptor, agents acting upon it, its distribution, and currently hypothesized physiological and pathophysiological roles. In humans, a further five genes are thought to encode functional receptors (TAAR2, TAAR5, TAAR6, TAAR8, and TAAR9). TAAR3 seems to be a pseudogene in some individuals but not others. TAAR4 is a pseudogene in humans, but occurs with TAAR3 as a functional gene in rodents. Nine further genes are present in rats and mice. The endogenous ligands are not firmly established but some may respond to odorants consistent with their expression in olfactory epithelium.