Searching for an explanation of mutualism in the genomes of clownfish and sea anemones
Mutualism is a type of symbiosis in which both parties benefit from the interaction and there are examples of it everywhere. However, despite its universal nature, or perhaps because of it, there is no unifying evolutionary theory of mutualism. Clownfish and the sea anemones where they live are a well-known example of a mutualistic symbiosis. The sea anemones provide shelter and leftover food for the clownfish, who clean up the environment by eating the waste and aid water circulation while fanning their fins. The EU-funded ANEMONE project is studying this classic example of mutualism, using full-genome sequencing to address several hypotheses regarding the development and evolution of mutualism and the organisms involved.