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.
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.