An NGS-based approach for the identification of sex-specific markers in snakehead (<i>Channa argus</i>)

  • Ou M
  • Yang C
  • Luo Q
  • et al.
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© Ou et al. We described a next generation sequencing (NGS)-based approach to identify sexspecific markers and subsequently determine whether a species has male or female heterogamety. To test the accuracy of this technique, we examined the snakehead (Channa argus), which is economically important freshwater fish in China. Males grow faster than females, and there is significant interest in developing methods to skew breeding towards all-males to increase biomass yields. NGS was conducted on DNAs of individual female and male, the male reads were spitted into 60 bp K-mers and aligned to the female reference genome assembled by female reads, unaligned male K-mers-60 were kept in next filter process. Meanwhile, DNA sample of 48 females was pooled and sequenced, this data was further used to filter out the previous unaligned male K-mers-60. Hence, numbers of candidate Y chromosome-specific sequences were screened out, their sex-specificity were validated in wild snakeheads through PCR amplification. Finally, three Y chromosome-specific fragments (Contig-275834, Contig-359642, and Contig-418354) were identified, and specific primers were obtained to distinguish the sex of snakehead. Additionally, a pair of primers of Contig-275834 (275834X/Y-F and 275834X/Y-R) was exploited to distinguish XX females, XY males, and YY super-males, whose amplification products of different lengths were produced for different sexes. Therefore, our work demonstrated the ability of NGS data in identification of sex-specific markers, and the pipeline adopted in our study could be applied in any species of sex differentiation. Furthermore, the sex-specific markers have tremendous potential for improving the efficiency of allmale breeding practices in snakehead.




Ou, M., Yang, C., Luo, Q., Huang, R., Zhang, A.-D., Liao, L.-J., … Wang, Y.-P. (2017). An NGS-based approach for the identification of sex-specific markers in snakehead (Channa argus). Oncotarget, 8(58).

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