Deregulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) contributes considerably to cancers, psychiatric disorders, macular degeneration and bone diseases. The use of humans in the development of MMPs as prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets is complicated by many factors, while primate models can be useful alternatives for this purpose. Here, we performed genome-enabled identification of putative MMPs across primate species, and comprehensively investigated the genes. Phylogenetic topology of the MMP family showed each type formulates a distinct clade, and was further clustered to classes, largely agreeing with classification based on biochemical properties and domain organization. Across primates, the excess of candidate sites of positive selection was detected for MMP-19, in addition to 1-3 sites in MMP-8, MMP-10 and MMP-26. MMP-26 showed Ka/Ks value above 1 between human and chimpanzee copies. We observed two copies of MMP-19 in the old-world monkey genomes, suggesting gene duplication at the early stage of or prior to the emergence of the lineage. Furin-activatable MMPs demonstrate the most variable properties regarding Domain organization and gene structure. During human aging, MMP-11 showed gradually decreased expression in testis, so as MMP-2, MMP-14, MMP15 and MMP-28 in ovary, while MMP-7 and MMP-21 showed elevated expression, implying their distinct roles in different reproductive organs. Co-expression clusters were formed among human MMPs both within and across classes, and expression correlation was observed in MMP genes across primates. Our results illuminate the utilization of MMPs for the discovery of prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for aging-related diseases and carry new messages on MMP classification.