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This volume highlights a broad spectrum of comparative aspects of mechanically sensitive ion channels and of transduction mechanisms of mechanoreceptors, including cutaneous receptors excited by pressure or contact, auditory receptors, muscle stretch receptors, as well as other systems. The topics range from mechanically sensitive ion channels in bacteria to those of highly organized cells of vertebrates. This broad range of tissues implies that mechanically sensitive ion channels play an important role for maintaining physiological homoeostasis of cells. Based on these basic concepts, the text describes the latest observations on mechanoreception utilizing a comparative phylogenetic approach to the transduction process.