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We highlight the increase in the number of diatom genera being described, and suggest that their description be based on the concept of monophyly. That is, a new genus will contain the ancestor and all its descendants. Past criteria or guidance on how to circumscribe genera are reviewed and discussed, with conceptual and actual exemplars presented. While there is an increase in the rate of genus descriptions in diatoms, and there are many journal and series dedicated to facilitating this important activity, we call for revisionary works on diatom groups, to assess and establish monophyletic groups at all levels of hierarchy in the diatom system.