Nine vertebrate and two protochordate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) decapeptides have been identified and sequenced. Multiple molecular forms of GnRH peptide were present in the brain of most species examined, and cGnRH-II generally coexists with one or more GnRH forms in all the major vertebrate groups. The presence of multiple GnRH forms has been further confirmed by the deduced GnRH peptide structure from cDNA and/or gene sequences in several teleost species and tree shrew. High conservation of the primary structure of GnRH decapeptides and the overall structure of GnRH genes and precursors suggests that they are derived from a common ancestor. Somatostatin (SRIF) is a phylogenetically ancient, multigene family of peptides. A tetradecapeptide, SRIF (SRIF14) has been conserved, with the same amino acid sequence, in representative species of all classes of vertebrate. Four molecular variants of SRIF14 have been identified. SRIF14 is processed from preprosomatostatin-I, which contains SRIF14 at its C-terminus; preprosomatostatin-I is also processed to SRIF28 in mammals and SRIF26 in bowfin. Teleost fish possess a second somatostatin precursor, preprosomatostatin-II, containing [Tyr7, Gly10]-SRIF14 at the C-terminus, that is mainly processed into large forms of SRIF.