Amino acids and their derivatives are transported into and out of cells by a variety of permease types which comprise several distinct protein families. We here present a systematic analysis of a group of homologous transport proteins which together comprise the eukaryotic-specific amino acid/auxin permease (AAAP) family (TC #2. 18). In characterizing this family, we have (1) identified all sequenced members of the family, (2) aligned their sequences, (3) identified regions of striking conservation, (4) derived a family-specific signature sequence, and (5) proposed a topological model that appears to be applicable to all members of the family. We have also constructed AAAP family phylogenetic trees and dendrograms using six different programs that allow us to trace the evolutionary history of the family, estimate the relatedness of proteins from dissimilar organismal phyla, and evaluate the reliability of the different programs available for phylogenetic studies. The TREE and neighbor-joining programs gave fully consistent results while CLUSTAL W gave similar but non-identical results. Other programs gave less consistent results. The phylogenetic analyses reveal (1) that many plant AAAP family proteins arose recently by multiple gene duplication events that occurred within a single organism, (2) that some plant members of the family with strikingly different specificities diverged early in evolutionary history, and (3) that AAAP family proteins from fungi and animals diverged from the plant proteins long ago, possibly when animals, plants and fungi diverged from each other. The Neurospora protein nevertheless exhibits overlapping specificity with those found in plants. Preliminary evidence is presented suggesting that proteins of the AAAP family are distantly related to proteins of the large ubiquitous amino acid/polyamine/choline family (TC #2.3) as well as to those of two small bacterial amino acid transporter families, the ArAAP family (TC #2.42) and the STP family (TC #2.43).