SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Mechanisms of species formation have always been a conundrum. Speciation between populations that are fully geographically isolated, or allopatric speciation, has been the standard solution in the last 50 years. Complete geographical isolation with no possibility of gene flow, however, is often untenable and is inefficient in generating the enormous biodiversity. By studying mangroves on the Indo-Malayan coasts, a global hotspot of coastal biodiversity, we were able to combine genomic data with geographical records on the Indo-Pacific Barrier that separates Pacific and Indian Ocean coasts. We discovered a novel mechanism of speciation that we call mixingisolation-mixing (MIM) cycles. By permitting intermittent gene flow during speciation,MIMcycles can potentially generate species at an exponential rate, thus combining speciation and biodiversity in a unified framework.
Results: We generated 43 Gb of short Illumina reads and 9 Gb of long Nanopore reads, representing approximate genome coverage of 54× and 11×, respectively, based on the range of estimated k-mer-predicted genome sizes of between 791 and 967 Mbp. The final assembled genome is contained in 6404 scaffolds with an accumulated length of 880 Mb (96.3% BUSCO-calculated genome completeness). Compared with the Illumina-only assembly, the hybrid approach generated 94% fewer scaffolds with an 18-fold increase in N50 length (401 kb) and increased the genome completeness by an additional 16%. A total of 27 240 high-quality protein-coding genes were predicted from the clown anemonefish, 26 211 (96%) of which were annotated functionally with information from either sequence homology or protein signature searches.
Conclusions: We present the first genome of any anemonefish and demonstrate the value of low coverage (∼11×) long Nanopore read sequencing in improving both genome assembly contiguity and completeness. The near-complete assembly of the A. ocellaris genome will be an invaluable molecular resource for supporting a range of genetic, genomic, and phylogenetic studies specifically for clownfish and more generally for other related fish species of the family Pomacentridae.