Editorial overview: Insect phylogenetics: an expanding toolbox to resolve evolutionary questions
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It is indeed an exciting time to be an insect systematist! The past decade has seen major breakthroughs in our understanding of the evolutionary relationships of insects, due largely to novel tools for the discovery and analysis of phylogenetically informative characters. Many insights, especially on ancient nodes of the insect evolutionary tree, are a direct result of recent phylogenomic studies [1,2]. New technologies for the discovery of morphological characters provide another valuable source of phylogenetic information, help cross-validate phylogenetic hypotheses based on genomic data, and enhance our understanding of character transformation and adaptation. Additional sources of data (e.g., from studies of fossils and the myriad associations between insects and other organisms) can provide further resolution of important phylogenetic and evolutionary questions. Although the explosion of information from morphological and genomic studies, collection databases, imagebases, geographical records, and other sources has lead to some bioinformatics challenges, the field has seen the development novel approaches to overcome many of these issues. Our goal in this issue of Current Opinion in Insect Science is to provide a synoptic overview of cutting-edge tools and methodologies used to address questions relevant to insect phylogenetics.
This is a manuscript of an article published as Courtney, Gregory W., and Brian M. Wiegmann. "Editorial overview: Insect phylogenetics: an expanding toolbox to resolve evolutionary questions." Current opinion in insect science 18 (2016): 93-95. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2016.11.001. Posted with permission.