Development of Ovaries and Sex Change in Fish: Bringing Potential into Action - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Sexual Development Year : 2023

Development of Ovaries and Sex Change in Fish: Bringing Potential into Action


Encompassing about half of the 60,000 species of vertebrates, fish display the greatest diversity of sex determination mechanisms among metazoans. As such that phylum offers a unique playground to study the impressive variety of gonadal morphogenetic strategies, ranging from gonochorism, with either genetic or environmental sex determination, to unisexuality, with either simultaneous or consecutive hermaphroditism. From the two main types of gonads, the ovaries embrace the important role to produce the larger and non-motile gametes, which is the basis for the development of a future organism. The production of the egg cells is complex and involves the formation of follicular cells, which are necessary for the maturation of the oocytes and the production of feminine hormones. In this vein, our review focuses on the development of ovaries in fish with special emphasis on the germ cells, including those that transition from one sex to the other as part of their life cycle and those that are capable of transitioning to the opposite sex depending on environmental cues. Clearly, establishing an individual as either a female or a male is not accomplished by the sole development of two types of gonads. In most cases, that dichotomy, be it final or transient, is accompanied by coordinated transformations across the entire organism, leading to changes in the physiological sex as a whole. These coordinated transformations require both molecular and neuroendocrine networks, but also anatomical and behavioural adjustments. Remarkably, fish managed to tame the ins and outs of sex reversal mechanisms to take the most advantages of changing sex as adaptive strategies in some situations.

Dates and versions

hal-04090064 , version 1 (05-05-2023)



Mateus Contar Adolfi, Alexandra Depince, Ming Wen, Qiaowei Pan, Amaury Herpin. Development of Ovaries and Sex Change in Fish: Bringing Potential into Action. Sexual Development, 2023, 17 (2-3), pp.84-98. ⟨10.1159/000526008⟩. ⟨hal-04090064⟩
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