A gene phylogeny provides the natural historical order to classify genes and to understand their functional, structural, and genomic diversity. The gene family of endothelin receptors (EDNR) is responsible for many key physiological and developmental processes of tetrapods and teleosts. This study provides a well-defined gene phylogeny for the EDNR family, which is used to classify its members and to assess their evolution. The EDNR phylogeny supports the recognition of the EDNRA, EDNRB, and EDNRC subfamilies, as well as more lineage-specific duplicates of teleosts and the African clawed frog. The duplications for these nominal genes are related to the various whole-genome amplifications of vertebrates, jawed vertebrates, fishes, and frog. The EDNR phylogeny also identifies several gene losses, including that of EDNRC from placental and marsupial (therian) mammals. When coupled with structural and biochemical information, site-specific analyses of evolutionary rate shifts reveal two distinct patterns of potential functional changes at the sequence level between therian versus non-therian EDNRA and EDNRB (i.e., between groups without and with EDNRC). An analysis of linkage maps and tetrapod synteny further suggests that the loss of therian EDNRC may be related to a chromosomal deletion in its common ancestor. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.