Abstract Phytoene synthase (PSY) is a crucial enzyme required for carotenoid biosynthesis, encoded by a gene family conserved in carotenoid-producing organisms. This gene family is diversified in angiosperms through distinct duplication events. Understanding diversification patterns and the evolutionary history of the PSY gene family is important for explaining carotenogenesis in different plant tissues. This study identified 351 PSY genes in 166 species, including Viridiplantae, brown and red algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, arthropods, and bacteria. All PSY genes displayed conserved intron/exon organization. Fungi and arthropod PSY sequences were grouped with prokaryote PSY, suggesting the occurrence of horizontal gene transfer. Angiosperm PSY is split into five subgroups. One includes the putative ortholog of PSY3 (Subgroup E3) from eudicots, and the other four subgroups include PSY from both monocots and eudicots (subgroups E1, E2, M1, and M2). Expression profile analysis revealed that PSY genes are constitutively expressed across developmental stages and anatomical parts, except for the eudicot PSY3, with root-specific expression. This study elucidates the molecular evolution and diversification of the PSY gene family, furthering our understanding of variations in carotenogenesis.