To fully understand the evolutionary history of parasitic kinetoplastids and to understand
the context within which the evolution of each parasite group has developed, an understanding
not just of the parasites, but of all kinetoplastids is required. Accordingly, this
paper provides an overview of kinetoplastid evolution and systematics, including coverage
of the proposal by Moreira et al. (2004) to divide kinetoplasts into Prokinetoplastina
(Ichthyobodo and Perkinsiella) and Metakinetoplastina (other bodonids and trypanosomatids).
The implications of such a revision, with regard to correctly identifying outgroup
taxa for studies of evolution within taxa of medical importance, are addressed, together
with a more detailed review of the evolution and origins of the trypanosomes in the
light of new phylogenies, new approaches and revisions in kinetoplastid systematics.