SYDNEY – A team of experts has mapped the genome of the clownfish, whose popularity soared with the movie “Finding Nemo,” which will help decode this fish’s response to environmental changes, researchers said on Tuesday.
The genetic map of the fish, which comprises some 939 million nucleotides that needed to be fitted together, contains 26,597 protein coding genes, a statement by Australia’s James Cook University said.
“This genome provides an essential blueprint for understanding every aspect of the reef fish’s biology,” said lead author Robert Lehmann of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, which conducted the study together with experts from JCU.
These orange and white fish with black stripes live in the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and host with an anemone when they are older.
Philip Munday, of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU, highlighted the importance of this species in studying the ecological, environmental and evolutionary aspects of reef fish including sex change, the patterns of larval dispersal in reef fish and behavior.
“It’s the first fish species for which it was demonstrated that predator avoidance behaviour could be impaired by ocean acidification,” Munday said.