Like olfaction, the sense of taste allows the detection and discrimination of chemicals in the environment. However, while olfaction is specialized in the detection of volatile chemicals, taste is restricted to the detection of contact-chemicals. Two families of mammalian taste receptors, T1R and T2R, involved in recognition of sweet, umami (the taste of monosodium glutamate) and bitter stimuli have been identifi ed and characterized. Although much progress has been made in studies on the basic mechanisms of taste recognition and signal transduction in mammals, we are still far from a full understanding of diff erent taste qualities. This review presents a current perspective on sweet, bitter and umami taste receptors and their signal transduction mechanism. We also discuss the evolution of taste and taste-related molecules.