The evolutionary innovations of insects and other arthropods are as numerous as they are fascinatingly wondrous, from terrifying fangs and stingers to exquisitely coloured wings and ingenious feats of engineering.
DNA sequencing allows us to chart the genomic blueprints underlying this incredible diversity that characterises the arthropods and makes them the most successful group of animals on Earth. An international team of scientists, including Prof. Ariel Chipman, report in the journal Genome Biology the results from a pilot project to kickstart the global sequencing initiative of thousands of arthropods.
Comparative analyses across 76 species spanning 500 million years of evolution reveal dynamic genomic changes that point to key factors behind their success and open up many new areas of research.
The new resources substantially advance progress towards building a comprehensive genomic catalogue of life on our planet, and with more than a million described arthropod species and estimates of seven times as many, there clearly remains a great deal to discover.