13 July 2009

FLYTREE scientists identify the closest relatives of the flies!

FLYTREE scientists resolve holometabolan insect phylogeny and identify the closest relatives of the Diptera

Wiegmann, B. M., M D. Trautwein, J. Kim, M. Bertone, S. L. Winterton, B. K. Cassel, and D. K. Yeates. (2009). Single-copy nuclear genes resolve the phylogeny of the holometabolous insect orders. BMC Biology 7:34.http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/7/34

A new paper published this month by FLYTREE ATOL scientists proposes a new phylogeny among the holometabolous insect orders and places Diptera as sister group to the Mecoptera  + Siphonaptera.  

Combined nucleotide data from 6 nuclear genes provides strong evidence for an early split between Hymenoptera and all other Holometabola and places the Strepsiptera as sister group to beetles (Coleoptera), arguing against previous molecular and developmental hypotheses.

These new data are used to estimates the evoutionary age of splits among the major insect orders including Diptera.. which had their origin in the Permian or earliest Triassic approximately 255 mya.

These exciting results are featured on the 'front page' of BMC Biology and are accompanied by an essay by Dr. Alessandro Minelli on the importance of robust phylogenetic understanding for accurate interpretation of developmental pathways and patterns.

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