Members of the solute carrier families (SLC) 32, 36, and 38, together also designated the β-group of SLCs, are known to transport neutral amino acids. In this paper, we show that these three families were present before the split of the animal lineage and that they are likely to share a common decent. We also show that the APF transporters found in plants are most likely homologous to the mammalian β-group, suggesting that this type of transporters arouse early in the evolution of eukaryotes. We performed detailed tissue expression analysis of all the members of the β-group in rat and found several examples of highly specific expression patterns, with SLC38A7 being exclusively found in liver, SLC38A5 in blood, and SLC38A4 in muscle and liver. Moreover, we found that SLC38A10 is expressed in several endocrine organs. We also found that SLC38A1 is highly up regulated in the cortex from rats treated with diazepam and that SLC38A2 is significantly down regulated in the same tissue. In addition, we performed a detailed expression analysis of SLC38A1 and SLC38A6 in mouse brain using in situ hybridization, which showed that both these transporters are widely expressed in the brain.