Phylogenetic relationships among fishes are gradually being resolved with new sources of genetic data. Increasing resolution for the tree of life of fishes is emerging from recent studies using a modest number (10 to 20) of molecular markers. These studies provided unprecedented resolution and high support for most backbone nodes, defining for the first time a global phylogeny of all fishes. The general structure of this tree is in agreement with previous morphological and molecular studies, but unanticipated new clades have been proposed. The most significant result has been resolution of the historically recalcitrant uncertainty concerning affinities among the crown-group percomorph fishes, a group that contains about one third of all fish species (with about 30 orders and almost 300 families). The new molecular phylogenies resolved percomorph affinities into nine well-supported supraordinal clades, suggesting that their extant diversity has originated as a result of relatively recent independent radiations. However, poor phylogenetic resolution within the newly discovered percomorph clades hinders our understanding of the major factors affecting rates of morphological and lineage diversification. Future research should provide such necessary phylogenetic resolution to improve our ability to understand the evolution of the richest coral reef fish clades and the most mysterious deep-sea groups.
Ricardo Betancur-R, et al. 2013
Several parts of the fish tree that require additional study include:
The Fish-T1K project will significantly contribute to the reconstruction of a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for all fish species to further resolve and test existing phylogenetic hypotheses and to provide better understanding of the evolution of the incredible diversity of fishes.
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