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The CYP51 family is an intriguing subject for fundamental P450 structure/function studies and is also an important clinical drug target. This review updates information on the variety of the CYP51 family members, including their physiological roles, natural substrates and substrate preferences, and catalytic properties in vitro. We present experimental support for the notion that specific conserved regions in the P450 sequences represent a CYP51 signature. Two possible roles of CYP51 in P450 evolution are discussed and the major approaches for CYP51 inhibition are summarized.