Twelve aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) genes have been identified in humans. These genes, located on different chromosomes, encode a group of enzymes which oxidizes varieties of aliphatic and aromatic aldehydes. Metabolic disorders and clinical problems associated with mutations of ALDH1, ALDH2, ALDH4, ALDH10 and succinic semialdehyde (SSDH) genes have been emerged. Comparison of the human ALDHs indicates a wide range of divergency (> 80 - < 15% identity at the protein sequence level) among them. However, several protein regions, some of which are implicated in functional activities, are conserved in the family members. The phylogenic tree constructed of 56 ALDH sequences of humans, animals, fungi, protozoa and eubacteria, suggests that the present-day human ALDH genes were derived from four ancestral genes that existed prior to the divergence of Eubacteria and Eukaryotes. The neighbor-joining tree derived from 12 human ALDHs and antiquitin indicates that diversification within the ALDH1/2/5/6 gene cluster occurred during the Neoproterozoic period (about 800 million years ago). Duplication in the ALDH 3/10/7/8 gene cluster occurred in Phanerozoic period (about 300 million years ago). Separations of ALDH3/ALDH10 and that of ALDH7/ALDH8 had occurred during the period of appearance and radiation of mammalian species.