First time p53 was found in the complex with viral large T-antigene in the cells transformed by small DNA virus SV40. The cloning of p53 cDNA was done in the beginning of eighties and soon after that the whole p53 gene was cloned. The p53 family is comprised of three genes: TP53,TP63 and TP73, each of which is expressed as a set of structurally and functionally different isoforms. All of them intensively interact with each other forming a united functional network of proteins. In this review we discuss evolution of the p53 family and significance of all its members in embryonic development, reproduction, regeneration, regulation of aging and life span, as well as in the body's defense against cancer. With special attention we review the role of less studied members of the p53 family: p63 and p73, in oncogenesis and tumor progression and show that different isoforms of these proteins might exert a contrary effect on these processes.