Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 419–426 | Cite as

New animal phylogeny: future challenges for animal phylogeny in the age of phylogenomics



The science of phylogenetics, and specially the subfield of molecular systematics, has grown exponentially not only in the amount of publications and general interest, but also especially in the amount of genetic data available. Modern phylogenomic analyses use large genomic and transcriptomic resources, yet a comprehensive molecular phylogeny of animals, including the newest types of data for all phyla, remains elusive. Future challenges need to address important issues with taxon sampling—especially for rare and small animals—orthology assignment, algorithmic developments, and data storage and to figure out better ways to integrate information from genomes and morphology in order to place fossils more precisely in the animal tree of life. Such precise placement will also aid in providing more accurate dates to major evolutionary events during the evolution of our closest kingdom.


Genomics Transcriptomics Metazoan phylogeny New animal phylogeny Fossils Tip dating Total evidence dating 



Andreas Wanninger solicited this review, based on work developed during the past few years in part supported by the US National Science Foundation (Grants #0334932, #0531757, #0732903, and #1457539). Much of the work discussed here has benefited from collaboration and discussions with close colleagues, especially Casey Dunn, Greg Edgecombe, Gustavo Hormiga, Prashant Sharma, Christopher Laumer, Sónia Andrade, Rosa Fernández, Sarah Lemer, David Combosch, and Sebastian Kvist. Christine Palmer and two anonymous reviewers provided additional criticism of this review.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum of Comparative Zoology & Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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