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Two papers unraveled the mystery of sex determination and benthic adaptation of the flatfish
Date:2/3/2014

February 2, 2014, Shenzhen, China - Researchers from Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences, BGI-Shenzhen and other institutes have successfully decoded the first genome of a flatfish - half-smooth tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis), providing insights into ZW sex chromosome evolution and adaptation to a benthic lifestyle. The data generated in this project also lay foundation on the genetic breeding of tongue sole. The latest study has been published online today in Nature Genetics. In another study published in Genome Research at the same time, the researchers also uncovered the epigenetic mechanism underlying the temperature-dependent sexual reversal as well as the trans-generational inheritance of such sexual reversal phenomena in tongue sole.

The genetic mechanisms underlying sex determination as well as the origin and evolution of sex chromosomes have fascinated biologists for decades. Half-smooth tongue sole is an important cultured marine flatfish along China coast, whose sex is primarily determined by the inheritance of sex chromosomes (genetic sex determination, GSD) but also affected by environmental temperature (environmental sex determination, ESD). In normal condition, the sex of tongue sole is determined by the ZW/ZZ sex determination system with female containing a heteromorphic W chromosome. However, if juvenile fish are reared in high temperature, the genetic females (ZW) can develop into phenotypic males (so-called pseudo-males). Interestingly, these sex-reversed pseudo-males are fertile and can mate with normal females to produce viable offspring. Astonishingly, most of their genetic female offspring (ZW) develop into pseudo-males, but without temperature induction. Thus, with its complex sex determination system governed by the interaction between genetic determination and environmental factors, tongue sole is an excellent model to understand the molecular mechanism of
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Contact: Jia Liu
liujia@genomics.cn
BGI Shenzhen
Source:Eurekalert

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