The dark sleeper (Odontobutis potamophila) is an important commercial fish species which shows a sexually dimorphic growth pattern. However, the lack of sex transcriptomic data is hindering further research and genetically selective breeding of the dark sleeper. In a recent study by researchers from Nanjing Normal University, integrated analysis of mRNA and miRNA was performed on gonad tissue to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of sex determination and differentiation in the dark sleeper.

Using RNA sequencing, a total of 143 differentially expressed miRNAs and 16,540 differentially expressed genes were identified. Of these, 8103 mRNAs and 75 miRNAs were upregulated in testes, and 8437 mRNAs and 68 miRNAs were upregulated in ovaries. Integrated analysis of miRNA and mRNA expression profiles predicted more than 50,000 miRNA-mRNA interaction sites, and among them 27,583 negative miRNA-mRNA interactions. A number of sex related genes were targeted by sex-biased miRNAs. The relationship between 15 sex-biased genes and 15 sex-biased miRNAs verified by using qRT-PCR were described. Additionally, a number of SNPs were revealed through the transcriptome data.

miRNA-mRNA negative correlation network. miRNAs and mRNAs were validated using real-time PCR

The overall results of this study facilitate our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying sex determination and differentiation and provide valuable genomic information for selective breeding of the dark sleeper.

 

Reference
C. Zhao, G. Zhang, S. Yin, Z. Li, Q. Wang, S. Chen, G. Zhou (2017) Integrated analysis of mRNA-seq and miRNA-seq reveals the potential roles of sex-biased miRNA-mRNA pairs in gonad tissue of dark sleeper (Odontobutis potamophila) BMC Genomics. 18:613 doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-3995-9 [article]

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