Ok, not SpongeBob. But still, a sponge. Could be a cousin. However, I am not aware of Bob’s species designation. The one that got sequenced is Amphimedon queenslandica. Where is SpongeBob from? This is the sequenced one.
I’ve been following the story a bit, and looked over the paper because it did seem to be more novel than most of the genomes that come along. But Jonathan Eisen noticed the press release with unusual detail and mentioned it. And I have to say it was unusually good as press releases go (Edit: this one). So even if you don’t want to read the paper, check out that release for an overview of why it’s so cool to look at a species that you might not have thought was so special….
The Amphimedon queenslandica genome and the evolution of animal complexity for the actual paper in Nature. It’s open. Should modify figure 1 to show Bob.
Edit: with the help of an outside young consultant, we are investigating the origins of SpongeBob. We expect to report back on that later.
Update: Our consultant’s report is now available. Please see our new guest post on this matter.