De novo transcriptome based on nextgeneration sequencing reveals candidate genes with sex-specific expression in Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822), an ancient Amazonian freshwater fish

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Abstract

Background The Arapaima (Arapaima gigas) is one of the world's largest freshwater bony fish, and is found in the rivers of the Amazon basin. This species is a potential aquaculture resource, although reproductive management in captivity is limited in particular due to the lack of external sexual dimorphism. In this study, using the 454 Roche platform (pyrosequencing) techniques, we evaluated a major portion of the transcriptome of this important Amazonian species. Results Four libraries obtained from the liver and skin tissue of juvenile specimens (representing males and females separately) were sequenced, yielding 5,453,919 high-quality reads. The de novo transcriptome assembly resulted in 175,792 contigs, with 51,057 significant blast hits. A total of 38,586 transcripts were mapped by Gene Ontology using Blast2GO. We identified 20,219 genes in the total transcriptome (9,551 in the liver and 16,818 in the skin). The gene expression analyses indicated 105 genes in the liver and 204 in the skin with differentiated expression profiles, with 95 being over-expressed in the females and 214 in the males. The log2 Fold Change and heatmap based on Reads Per Kilobase per Million mapped reads (RPKM) revealed that the gene expression in the skin is highly differentiated between male and female arapaima, while the levels of expression in the liver are similar between the sexes. Conclusion Transcriptome analysis based on pyrosequencing proved to be a reliable tool for the identification of genes with differentiated expression profiles between male and female arapaima. These results provide useful insights into the molecular pathways of sexual dimorphism in this important Amazonian species, and for comparative analyses with other teleosts.

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Watanabe, L., Gomes, F., Vianez, J., Nunes, M., Cardoso, J., Lima, C., … Sampaio, I. (2018). De novo transcriptome based on nextgeneration sequencing reveals candidate genes with sex-specific expression in Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822), an ancient Amazonian freshwater fish. PLoS ONE, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206379

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