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The transcriptomic signature of different sexes in two protogynous hermaphrodites: Insights into the molecular network underlying sex phenotype in fish

Abstract : Sex differentiation is a puzzling problem in fish due to the variety of reproductive systems and the flexibility of their sex determination mechanisms. The Sparidae, a teleost family, reflects this remarkable diversity of sexual mechanisms found in fish. Our aim was to capture the transcriptomic signature of different sexes in two protogynous hermaphrodite sparids, the common pandora Pagellus erythrinus and the red porgy Pagrus pagrus in order to shed light on the molecular network contributing to either the female or the male phenotype in these organisms. Through RNA sequencing, we investigated sex-specific differences in gene expression in both species’ brains and gonads. The analysis revealed common male and female specific genes/pathways between these protogynous fish. Whereas limited sex differences found in the brain indicate a sexually plastic tissue, in contrast, the great amount of sex-biased genes observed in gonads reflects the functional divergence of the transformed tissue to either its male or female character. Α common “crew” of well-known molecular players is acting to preserve either sex identity of the gonad in these fish. Lastly, this study lays the ground for a deeper understanding of the complex process of sex differentiation in two species with an evolutionary significant reproductive system.
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A. Tsakogiannis, T. Manousaki, Jacques Lagnel, A. Sterioti, M. Pavlidis, et al.. The transcriptomic signature of different sexes in two protogynous hermaphrodites: Insights into the molecular network underlying sex phenotype in fish. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 8 (1), pp.1-17. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-21992-9⟩. ⟨hal-02620154⟩

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