Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a key role in cell physiology and function. ROS represents a potential source of damage for many macromolecules including DNA. It is thought that daily changes in oxidative stress levels were an important early factor driving evolution of the circadian clock which enables organisms to predict changes in ROS levels before they actually occur and thereby optimally coordinate survival strategies. It is clear that ROS, at relatively low levels, can serve as an important signaling molecule and also serves as a key regulator of gene expression. Therefore, the mechanisms that have evolved to survive or harness these effects of ROS are ancient evolutionary adaptations that are tightly interconnected with most aspects of cellular physiology. Our understanding of these mechanisms has been mainly based on studies using a relatively small group of genetic models. However, we know comparatively little about how these mechanisms are conserved or have adapted during evolution under different environmental conditions. In this review, we describe recent work that has revealed significant species-specific differences in the gene expression response to ROS by exploring diverse organisms. ... mehrThis evidence supports the notion that during evolution, rather than being highly conserved, there is inherent plasticity in the molecular mechanisms responding to oxidative stress.