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Liew W.C.,Reproductive Genomics Group | Liew W.C.,Nanyang Technological University | Bartfai R.,Reproductive Genomics Group | Bartfai R.,National University of Singapore | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Despite the popularity of zebrafish as a research model, its sex determination (SD) mechanism is still unknown. Most cytogenetic studies failed to find dimorphic sex chromosomes and no primary sex determining switch has been identified even though the assembly of zebrafish genome sequence is near to completion and a high resolution genetic map is available. Recent publications suggest that environmental factors within the natural range have minimal impact on sex ratios of zebrafish populations. The primary aim of this study is to find out more about how sex is determined in zebrafish. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using classical breeding experiments, we found that sex ratios across families were wide ranging (4.8% to 97.3% males). On the other hand, repeated single pair crossings produced broods of very similar sex ratios, indicating that parental genotypes have a role in the sex ratio of the offspring. Variation among family sex ratios was reduced after selection for breeding pairs with predominantly male or female offspring, another indication that zebrafish sex is regulated genetically. Further examinations by a PCR-based "blind assay" and array comparative genomic hybridization both failed to find universal sex-linked differences between the male and female genomes. Together with the ability to increase the sex bias of lines by selective breeding, these data suggest that zebrafish is unlikely to utilize a chromosomal sex determination (CSD) system. Conclusions/Significance: Taken together, our study suggests that zebrafish sex is genetically determined with limited, secondary influences from the environment. As we have not found any sign for CSD in the species, we propose that the zebrafish has a polygenic sex determination system. © 2012 Liew et al.

Shen X.,Reproductive Genomics Group | Cui J.,National University of Singapore | Gong Q.,Ocean University of China
Genome | Year: 2011

Members of the Fox gene family of transcriptional regulators are essential for animal development and have been extensively studied in vertebrates. The mouse and human genomes contain at least 40 FOX genes which are divided into 19 subclasses based on the sequence similarity of the highly conserved forkhead domain. Using the genome sequence of the Takifugu rubripes and Tetraodon nigroviridis, we examined the genomic complement of fox genes in these organisms to gain insight into the evolutionary relationship of this gene family. We identified 53 fox genes in Tetraodon nigroviridis and Takifugu rubripes genome by searching the forkhead domain. These genes are divided into 18 subclasses as follows: 8 fox genes in subclass O; 6 in subclass P; 4 in subclasses D, J, and N; 3 in subclasses A, B, C, E, F, and I; 2 in subclasses K, L, and Q; and 1 in subclasses G, H, M, and R. Together with the forkhead domain sequences of human, chicken, frog, zebrafish, medaka, and Caenorhabditis elegans, the phylogenetic relationship of the fox genes in Takifugu rubripes and Tetraodon nigroviridis were analyzed and compared. The genes structure, general features, and the three-dimensional model of these genes were also discussed. © 2011 Published by NRC Research Press.

Cui J.,National University of Singapore | Shen X.,Reproductive Genomics Group | Zhao H.,Central China Normal University | Nagahama Y.,Japan National Institute for Basic Biology
Cytogenetic and Genome Research | Year: 2011

Genes of the Sox family encode evolutionarily conserved high-mobility group box containing transcription factors, which play key roles in various events of developmental contexts. In this study, we identified 15 sox genes by searching for the high-mobility group domain in the medaka genome and by polymerase chain reaction using primers designed from the results obtained from homology protein alignment. All medaka sox genes except a novel sox gene, Olsox32, are encoded in 5 groups as follows: 4 sox genes in group B; 3 sox genes in group D and F, respectively; 2 sox genes in group C and E, respectively, while no sox genes were found in groups A, G, H, I, and J. The medaka Olsox32 does not fall within any of the previously defined groups A-J. Here we have assigned it to a new group K. Together with the Sox protein sequences of other species, the phylogenetic relationship was analyzed and compared. Our findings point to recent sox gene loss, duplication and divergence occurring during the evolution of tetrapod and teleost lineages. The expression pattern shows that sox genes play a variety of roles in the early embryonic development of medaka. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Wang C.M.,National University of Singapore | Lo L.C.,National University of Singapore | Zhu Z.Y.,National University of Singapore | Pang H.Y.,National University of Singapore | And 6 more authors.
Marine Biotechnology | Year: 2011

The caudal fin represents a fundamental design feature of fishes and plays an important role in locomotor dynamics in fishes. The shape of caudal is an important parameter in traditional systematics. However, little is known about genes involved in the development of different forms of caudal fins. This study was conducted to identify and map quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting the length of caudal fin and the ratio between tail length and standard body length in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). One F1 family containing 380 offspring was generated by crossing two unrelated individuals. One hundred and seventeen microsatellites almost evenly distributed along the whole genome were genotyped. Length of caudal fin at 90 days post-hatch was measured. QTL analysis detected six significant (genome-wide significant) and two suggestive (linkage-group-wide significant) QTL on seven linkage groups. The six significant QTL explained 5.5-16.6% of the phenotypic variance, suggesting these traits were controlled by multiple genes. Comparative genomics analysis identified several potential candidate genes for the length of caudal fin. The QTL for the length of caudal fin detected for the first time in marine fish may provide a starting point for the future identification of genes involved in the development of different forms of caudal fins in fishes. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

PubMed | CSIR - Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Pacific Biosciences, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences and 10 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS genetics | Year: 2016

We report here the ~670 Mb genome assembly of the Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), a tropical marine teleost. We used long-read sequencing augmented by transcriptomics, optical and genetic mapping along with shared synteny from closely related fish species to derive a chromosome-level assembly with a contig N50 size over 1 Mb and scaffold N50 size over 25 Mb that span ~90% of the genome. The population structure of L. calcarifer species complex was analyzed by re-sequencing 61 individuals representing various regions across the species native range. SNP analyses identified high levels of genetic diversity and confirmed earlier indications of a population stratification comprising three clades with signs of admixture apparent in the South-East Asian population. The quality of the Asian seabass genome assembly far exceeds that of any other fish species, and will serve as a new standard for fish genomics.

PubMed | Singapore Institute of Medical Biology, University of Pannonia and Reproductive Genomics Group
Type: | Journal: PeerJ | Year: 2016

Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) is a food fish of increasing aquaculture importance. In order to improve our understanding on the digestive system and feeding of this species, morphological and histological features of the gut were studied. Morphologically, the Asian seabass gut is defined by a short and muscular esophagus, well-developed stomach and comparatively short intestine. Mucous secreting goblet cells reactive to PAS (Periodic Acid Schiff) and AB (Alcian Blue) stain were present throughout the esophagus. The stomach was sac-like and could be distinguished into the cardiac, fundic and pyloric regions. Gastric glands and mucus cells were predominately present in the cardiac and fundic regions. Five finger-like pyloric caeca were present between the stomach and intestine. The intestine was a short, tubular structure with no morphological differences between the various regions. Histologically, the intestinal regions were similar, the main difference being in the number of goblet cells that increased from anterior to posterior intestine, with 114 9, 153 7 and 317 21 goblet cells in the anterior, mid and posterior regions, respectively. The intestinal epithelium stained positively for PAS, but the staining was stronger for acidic glycoproteins. The rectum was similar to intestine, except for increased goblet cell numbers (anterior rectum: 529 26; posterior rectum: 745 29). Gut morpho-histology did not respond to salinity changes, however, there was a significant reduction of mucosal height, goblet cell numbers and muscularis thickness upon food deprivation.

PubMed | Realbio Genomics Institute, BGI Shenzhen, Dalian Ocean University, Russian Academy of Sciences and 6 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

The Asian arowana (Scleropages formosus), one of the worlds most expensive cultivated ornamental fishes, is an endangered species. It represents an ancient lineage of teleosts: the Osteoglossomorpha. Here, we provide a high-quality chromosome-level reference genome of a female golden-variety arowana using a combination of deep shotgun sequencing and high-resolution linkage mapping. In addition, we have also generated two draft genome assemblies for the red and green varieties. Phylogenomic analysis supports a sister group relationship between Osteoglossomorpha (bonytongues) and Elopomorpha (eels and relatives), with the two clades together forming a sister group of Clupeocephala which includes all the remaining teleosts. The arowana genome retains the full complement of eight Hox clusters unlike the African butterfly fish (Pantodon buchholzi), another bonytongue fish, which possess only five Hox clusters. Differential gene expression among three varieties provides insights into the genetic basis of colour variation. A potential heterogametic sex chromosome is identified in the female arowana karyotype, suggesting that the sex is determined by a ZW/ZZ sex chromosomal system. The high-quality reference genome of the golden arowana and the draft assemblies of the red and green varieties are valuable resources for understanding the biology, adaptation and behaviour of Asian arowanas.

Liew W.C.,Reproductive Genomics Group
Briefings in functional genomics | Year: 2014

In this review, we provide a detailed overview of studies on the elusive sex determination (SD) and gonad differentiation mechanisms of zebrafish (Danio rerio). We show that the data obtained from most studies are compatible with polygenic sex determination (PSD), where the decision is made by the allelic combinations of several loci. These loci are typically dispersed throughout the genome, but in some teleost species a few of them might be located on a preferential pair of (sex) chromosomes. The PSD system has a much higher level of variation of SD genotypes both at the level of gametes and the sexual genotype of individuals, than that of the chromosomal sex determination systems. The early sexual development of zebrafish males is a complicated process, as they first develop a 'juvenile ovary', that later undergoes a transformation to give way to a testis. To date, three major developmental pathways were shown to be involved with gonad differentiation through the modulation of programmed cell death. In our opinion, there are more pathways participating in the regulation of zebrafish gonad differentiation/transformation. Introduction of additional powerful large-scale genomic approaches into the analysis of zebrafish reproduction will result in further deepening of our knowledge as well as identification of additional pathways and genes associated with these processes in the near future.

PubMed | Reproductive Genomics Group and Pacific Biosciences
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

The Asian seabass is an important marine food fish that has been cultured for several decades in Asia Pacific. However, the lack of a high quality reference genome has hampered efforts to improve its selective breeding. A 3D BAC pool set generated in this study was screened using 22 SSR markers located on linkage group 2 which contains a growth-related QTL region. Seventy-two clones corresponding to 22 FPC contigs were sequenced by Illumina MiSeq technology. We co-assembled the MiSeq-derived scaffolds from each FPC contig with error-corrected PacBio reads, resulting in 187 sequences covering 9.7Mb. Eleven genes annotated within this region were found to be potentially associated with growth and their tissue-specific expression was investigated. Correlation analysis demonstrated that SNPs in ctsb, skp1 and ppp2ca can be potentially used as markers for selecting fast-growing fingerlings. Conserved syntenies between seabass LG2 and five other teleosts were identified. This study i) provided a 10Mb targeted genome assembly; ii) demonstrated NGS of BAC pools as a potential approach for mining candidates underlying QTLs of this species; iii) detected eleven genes potentially responsible for growth in the QTL region; and iv) identified useful SNP markers for selective breeding programs of Asian seabass.

PubMed | CSIC - Institute of Marine Sciences and Reproductive Genomics Group
Type: | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2017

Understanding environmental influences on sex ratios is important for the study of the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms and for evaluating the effects of global warming and chemical pollution. Fishes exhibit sexual plasticity, but the underlying mechanisms of environmental effects on their reproduction are unclear even in the well-established teleost research model, the zebrafish. Here we established the conditions to study the effects of elevated temperature on zebrafish sex. We showed that sex ratio response to elevated temperature is family-specific and typically leads to masculinization (female-to-male sex reversal), resulting in neomales. These results uncovered genotype-by-environment interactions that support a polygenic sex determination system in domesticated (laboratory) zebrafish. We found that some heat-treated fish had gene expression profiles similar to untreated controls of the same sex, indicating that they were resistant to thermal effects. Further, most neomales had gonadal transcriptomes similar to that of regular males. Strikingly, we discovered heat-treated females that displayed a normal ovarian phenotype but with a male-like gonadal transcriptome. Such major transcriptomic reprogramming with preserved organ structure has never been reported. Juveniles were also found to have a male-like transcriptome shortly after exposure to heat. These findings were validated by analyzing the expression of genes and signaling pathways associated with sex differentiation. Our results revealed a lasting thermal effect on zebrafish gonads, suggesting new avenues for detection of functional consequences of elevated temperature in natural fish populations in a global warming scenario.

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