Mast cell proteases play an important role in the regulation of the immune response. We identified the cDNA of the mast cell protease 8 (MCP-8) gene and analyzed its genomic structure in tilapia. The ORF of the MCP-8 was 768 bp, encoding 255 amino acids. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the MCP-8 gene was expressed predominantly in spleen, moderately in liver, blood, brain, gill, intestine, skin, and weakly expressed in kidney, muscle and eye. After a challenge with Streptococcus agalactiae, the gene was induced significantly (p < 0.05) in intestine, kidney, spleen and liver. Furthermore, we identified five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the MCP-8 gene and found that three SNPs were significantly associated (p < 0.05) with resistance against S. agalactiae. However, we found no association between four SNPs and growth traits (p > 0.05). These results suggest that the MCP-8 gene play an important role in the resistance to S. agalactiae in tilapia. The SNP markers in the MCP-8 gene associated with the resistance to the bacterial pathogen may facilitate selection of tilapia resistant to the bacterial disease.
Starvation not only affects the nutritional and health status of the animals, but also the microbial composition in the host's intestine. Next-generation sequencing provides a unique opportunity to explore gut microbial communities and their interactions with hosts. However, studies on gut microbiomes have been conducted predominantly in humans and land animals. Not much is known on gut microbiomes of aquatic animals and their changes under changing environmental conditions. To address this shortcoming, we determined the microbial gene catalogue, and investigated changes in the microbial composition and host-microbe interactions in the intestine of Asian seabass in response to starvation.
Leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin-2 (LECT2) is an important protein of the innate immune system for the defense against bacterial infection. We cloned and characterized the LECT2 gene from Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). Its complete cDNA consisted of an open reading frame of 459 bp encoding a protein of 152 amino acids. The genomic DNA sequence of this gene consists of four exons and three introns. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the LECT2 gene was expressed predominantly in liver while its expression was moderate in spleen and heart, and weak in other tissues. The LECT2 transcript was up-regulated in the kidney, spleen and liver in response to a challenge with a pathogenic bacterium Vibrio harveyi. In addition, we identified three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LECT2 gene, and found significant associations between these polymorphisms and resistance to the big belly disease. These results suggest that the LECT2 gene play an important role in resistance to bacterial pathogens in fish. The SNP markers in the gene associated with the resistance to bacterial pathogens may facilitate selecting Asian seabass resistant to bacterial diseases.
Genetic variation in the genome of a given species is the basis for natural selection and genetic improvement through selective breeding. We applied 29 microsatellites located on 11 linkage groups to study genetic variation in 276 accessions of J. curcas collected from nine locations in five countries in South America, Asia and Africa to initiate a breeding program. To our surprise, we did not detect any genetic diversity at all 29 microsatellites loci. All the 276 accessions were homozygous at all loci and shared the same genotype at each locus, suggesting no microsatellite variation in the genome of Jatropha curcas. This result is quite unusual, and may have a profound influence on the breeding strategies and genome study of this species.
Fgf21 is a newly discovered fibroblast growth factor. It is typically induced by fasting and plays important roles in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolisms and energy balance in mammals, whereas potential functions of this gene in teleosts are still unknown. We identified the Fgf21 gene and studied its functions in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). The cDNA of the Fgf21 encoded a protein with 206 amino acids. Analysis of DNA and amino acid sequences of Fgf21 genes revealed that the sequences and structure of the Fgf21 genes were highly conserved in vertebrates. Real-time PCR revealed that Fgf21 was exclusively expressed in the intestine and kidney, which was different from the expression profiles of mammals. Fgf21 was down-regulated under fasting, whereas it was significantly increased during the LPS challenge. Exogenous recombinant FGF21 significantly suppressed the appetite of Asian seabass. Our data suggest that Fgf21 plays a role in energy regulation and acute phase response in Asian seabass, and may have different functions in fish and mammals. In addition, we identified one SNP in Fgf21. By using this SNP, the gene was mapped on the linkage group 23, where a suggestive QTL for growth was mapped previously. Association mapping identified significant associations between Fgf21 genotypes at the SNP and growth traits. These results not only provide important information of the functions of Fgf21, but also suggest that the SNP in this gene can be used as a marker in selecting fast-growing individuals of Asian seabass.
Identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and regulated pathways in response to stressors using a whole-genome approach is critical to understanding the mechanisms underlying stress responses. We challenged Asian seabass with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Vibrio harveyi, high salinity and fasting, and sequenced six cDNA libraries of intestine samples using Roche 454 RNA-seq. Over 1 million reads (average size: 516 bp) were obtained. The de novo assembly obtained 83 911 unisequences with an average length of 747 bp. In total, 62.3% of the unisequences were annotated. We observed overall similar expression profiles among different challenges, while a number of DEGs and regulated pathways were identified under specific challenges. More than 1000 DEGs and over 200 regulated pathways for each stressor were identified. Thirty-seven genes were differentially expressed in response to all challenges. Our data suggest that there is a global coordination and fine-tuning of gene regulation during different challenges. In addition, we detected dramatic immune responses in intestines under different stressors. This study is the first step towards the comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying stress responses and supplies significant transcriptome resources for studying biological questions in non-model fish species.
Aquaculture is the quickest growing sector in agriculture. However, QTL for important traits have been only identified in a few aquaculture species. We conducted QTL mapping for growth traits in an Asian seabass F(2) family with 359 individuals using 123 microsatellites and 22 SNPs, and performed association mapping in four populations with 881 individuals.
Tilapia is the common name for a group of cichlid fishes and is one of the most important aquacultured freshwater food fish. Mozambique tilapia and its hybrids, including red tilapia are main representatives of salt tolerant tilapias. A linkage map is an essential framework for mapping QTL for important traits, positional cloning of genes and understanding of genome evolution.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids for human health. Therefore, increasing both percentage of omega-3 and a better fatty acid profile in fish fillets is one of the breeding goals in aquaculture. However, it is difficult to increase the omega-3 content in fish fillets, as the phenotypic selection of these traits is not easily feasible. To facilitate the genetic improvement of the Asian seabass for optimal fatty acid profiles, a genome-wide scan for quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting fatty acid level in the flesh of the Asian seabass was performed on an F2 family containing 314 offspring. All family members were genotyped using 123 informative microsatellites and 22 SNPs. High percentages of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), especially C22:6 (DHA 16.48?±?3.09 %) and C20:5 (EPA 7.19?±?0.86 %) were detected in the flesh. One significant and 54 suggestive QTL for different fatty acids and a water content trait were detected on the whole genome. QTL for C18:0b was located on linkage groups (LG) 5. QTL for total n-3 PUFA content in flesh were mapped onto LG6 and LG23 with the phenotypic variance explained ranging from 3.8 to 6.3 %. Four QTL for C22:6 were detected on LG6, LG23, and LG24, explaining 3.9 to 4.9 % of the phenotypic variance, respectively. Mapping of QTL for contents of different fatty acids is the first step towards improving the omega-3 content in the fillets of fish by using marker-assisted selection and is important for understanding the biology of fatty acid deposition.
Lysozymes are important proteins of the innate immune system for the defense against bacterial infection. We cloned and analyzed chicken-type (c-type) and goose-type (g-type) lysozymes from Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). The deduced amino acid sequence of the c-type lysozyme contained 144 residues and possessed typical structure residues, conserved catalytic residues (Glu(50) and Asp(67)) and a "GSTDYGIFQINS" motif. The deduced g-type lysozyme contained 187 residues and possessed a goose egg white lysozyme (GEWL) domain containing three conserved catalytic residues (Glu(71), Asp(84), Asp(95)) essential for catalytic activity. Real time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed that the two lysozyme genes were constitutively expressed in all the examined tissues. The c-type lysozyme was most abundant in liver, while the g-type lysozyme was predominantly expressed in intestine and weakly expressed in muscle. The c-type and g-type transcripts were up-regulated in the kidney, spleen and liver in response to a challenge with Vibrio harveyi. The up-regulation of the c-type lysozyme was much stronger than that of the g-type lysozyme in kidney and spleen. The recombinant proteins of the c-type and g-type lysozymes showed lytic activities against the bacterial pathogens Vibrio harveyi and Photobacterium damselae in a dosage-dependent manner. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the two lysozyme genes. There were significant associations of these polymorphisms with resistance to the big belly disease. These results suggest that the c- and g-type genes play an important role in resistance to bacterial pathogens in fish. The SNP markers in the two genes associated with the resistance to bacterial pathogens may facilitate the selection of Asian seabass resistant to bacterial diseases.
Analysis of transcriptomes is of great importance in genomic studies. Asian seabass is an important fish species. A number of genomic tools in it were developed, while large expressed sequence tag (EST) data are lacking. We sequenced ESTs from nine normalized cDNA libraries and obtained 11 431 high-quality ESTs. We retrieved 8524 ESTs from dbEST database and analyzed all 19 975 ESTs using bioinformatics tools. After clustering, we obtained 8837 unique sequences (2838 contigs and 5999 singletons). The average contig length was 574 bp. Annotation of these unique sequences revealed that 48.9% of them showed significant homology to RNA sequences in GenBank. Functional classification of the unique ESTs identified a broad range of genes involved in different functions. We identified 6114 putative single-nucleotide polymorphisms and 634 microsatellites in ESTs. We discovered different temporal and spatial expression patterns of some immune-related genes in the Asian seabass after challenging with a pathogen Vibrio harveyi. The unique EST sequences are being used in developing a cDNA microarray to examine global gene expression and will also facilitate future whole-genome sequence assembly and annotation of Asian seabass and comparative genomics.
The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a member of the MAPK family, which is initially found to be activated by stress stimuli, proinflammatory cytokines, and growth factors. However, its role in the pathogenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is largely unkown, so we investigate the role of phosphorylated p38 (p-p38) MAPK in ESCC. First of all, in vitro cell line ECa109, SB203580 as selective inhibitor of p38, can suppress the growth of esophageal cancer cell in a dose- and time-dependent way, suggesting that ECa109 cell growth and proliferation was closely associated with p-p38. Using western-blot analysis of fresh 16 paired surgically resected ESCC and matched non-tumor adjacent tissues (NAT), we showed that p-p38 was significantly expressed higher in NAT compared to ESCC. Moreover, expressions of p-p38 were further confirmed by 162 paired of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) ESCC and NAT by immunohistochemistry, the same trend result was obtained through statistical analysis that there was increased expression of p-p38 in NAT as compared with ESCC (P < 0.01), and expression of p-p38 was not significantly associated with lymph nodes metastasis (P > 0.05) and ESCC differentiation degree (P > 0.05). Taken together, all the results we obtained demonstrated that p-p38 plays a key role in the malignant transformation of ESCC.
The major fatty acids in seed oil of jatropha, a biofuel crop, are palmitic acid (C16:0), stearic acid (C18:0), oleic acid (C18:1) and linoleic acid (C18:2). High oleic acid and total oil content are desirable for jatropha breeding. Until now, little was known about the genetic bases of these oil traits in jatropha. In this study, quantitative trait locus (QTL) and expression QTL analyses were applied to identify genetic factors that are relevant to seed oil traits in jatropha.
Jatropha curcas is a potential plant species for biodiesel production. However, its seed yield is too low for profitable production of biodiesel. To improve the productivity, genetic improvement through breeding is essential. A linkage map is an important component in molecular breeding. We established a first-generation linkage map using a mapping panel containing two backcross populations with 93 progeny. We mapped 506 markers (216 microsatellites and 290 SNPs from ESTs) onto 11 linkage groups. The total length of the map was 1440.9 cM with an average marker space of 2.8 cM. Blasting of 222 Jatropha ESTs containing polymorphic SSR or SNP markers against EST-databases revealed that 91.0%, 86.5% and 79.2% of Jatropha ESTs were homologous to counterparts in castor bean, poplar and Arabidopsis respectively. Mapping 192 orthologous markers to the assembled whole genome sequence of Arabidopsis thaliana identified 38 syntenic blocks and revealed that small linkage blocks were well conserved, but often shuffled. The first generation linkage map and the data of comparative mapping could lay a solid foundation for QTL mapping of agronomic traits, marker-assisted breeding and cloning genes responsible for phenotypic variation.
High density linkage maps are essential for comparative analysis of synteny, fine mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL), searching for candidate genes and facilitating genome sequence assembly. However, in most foodfish species, marker density is still low. We previously reported a first generation linkage map with 240 DNA markers and its application to preliminarily map QTL for growth traits in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). Here, we report a high-resolution linkage map with 790 microsatellites and SNPs, comparative analysis of synteny, fine-mapping of QTL and the identification of potential candidate genes for growth traits.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in the regulation of many fundamental biological processes. So far miRNAs have been only identified in a few fish species, although there are over 30,000 fish species living under different environmental conditions on the earth. Here, we described an approach to identify conserved miRNAs and characterized their expression patterns in different tissues for the first time in a food fish species Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer).
The Carassius auratus complex in natural populations includes diploid triploid and polyploidy individuals. Diploid individuals belong to the species Carassius auratus whereas triploid and polyploidy individuals are from the subspecies Carassius auratus gibelio. Triploid individuals are all female and reproduce clonally by gynogenesis. Therefore the Carassius auratus complex is an ideal system for studying evolution of unisexual reproduction. Identification of triploid individuals and clonal lines is the first step towards understanding of the evolution of unisexual clonal lines. We examined the ability of 10 microsatellites in identifying triploid individuals in 94 individuals from Japan and China. In 40 confirmed triploid individuals and eight confirmed diploid individuals, all triploid and diploid individuals can be identified by genotyping 10 microsatellite, and four triploid clonal lines were identified. Using the 10 microsatellites we genotyped 46 adult individuals (40 females and six males) from a natural population in China and found that all six males were diploid whereas the majority of females (36 of 40) were triploid and three triploid clonal lines were detected. In 18 diploid individuals from China, all individuals showed different genotypes, suggesting there is no diploid clonal line in diploid crucian carp. A phylogenetic analysis of 94 individuals from China and Japan showed that triploid individuals and clonal lines have originated recurrently.
To investigated the role of microRNA (miRNA) let-7 and its regulation on high mobility group A2 (HMGA2) protein expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Let-7 expressions were detected in esophageal cancer cell line Eca109, and 45 paired of fresh ESCC and normal adjacent tissues (NAT) by real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). To evaluate the role of let-7 and HMGA2, cell proliferations were analyzed with synthetic let-7 mimics- or its inhibitor-transfected cells. Moreover, expressions of HMGA2 were performed by western blotting and further confirmed by 150 paired of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embeded (FFPE) ESCC and NAT by immunohistochemistry (IHC). In Eca109, when transfected with let-7 mimics, accumulation of let-7 was obviously suppressed cell proliferation with approximately 14%. Conversely, when Eca109 transfected with let-7 inhibitor, expression of let-7 was declined, which promoted cell proliferation with approximately 16%. Both of them had no effect on the level of HMGA2 mRNA. The transcription of let-7 inversely correlated with HMGA2 protein. Compared with the NAT, expression of let-7 was significantly lower in ESCC tissues (P < 0.05), and there was a significant correlation between low expression of let-7 and lymph node metastasis in ESCC (P < 0.05). Moreover, the protein expression of HMGA2 was significantly higher in ESCC compared with NAT (P < 0.05). However, mRNA expression of HMGA2 had no obvious significance between them. The present results demonstrated that let-7 and HMGA2 involved in ESCC carcinogenesis. Let-7 could inhibit cell proliferation and lower expressed in ESCC, and there was a correlation between let-7 lower expression and lymph node metastasis in ESCC patients. As well as, HMGA2 protein expression was significantly higher in ESCC than that in NAT, and HMGA2 may negatively regulated by let-7 at the post- transcriptional level in ESCC.
Microsatellites have been widely used in studies on population genetics, ecology and evolutionary biology. However, microsatellites are not always available for the species to be studied and their isolation could be time-consuming. In order to save time and effort researchers often rely on cross-species amplification. We revealed a new problem of microsatellite cross-species amplification in addition to size homoplasy by analyzing the sequences of electromorphs from seven catfish species belonging to three different families (Clariidae, Heteropneustidae and Pimelodidae). A total of 50 different electromorphs were amplified from the seven catfish species by using primers for 4 microsatellite loci isolated from the species Clarias batrachus. Two hundred and forty PCR-products representing all 50 electromorphs were sequenced and analyzed. Primers for two loci amplified specific products from orthologous loci in all species tested, whereas primers for the other two loci produced specific and polymorphic bands from some non-orthologous loci, even in closely related non-source species. Size homoplasy within the source species was not obvious, whereas extensive size homoplasy across species were detected at three loci, but not at the fourth one. These data suggest that amplification of products from non-orthologous loci and appearance of size homoplasy by cross-amplification are locus dependent, and do not reflect phylogenetic relationship. Amplification of non-orthologous loci and appearance of size homoplasy will lead to obvious complications in phylogenetic interference, population genetic and evolutionary studies. Therefore, we propose that sequence analysis of cross-amplification products should be conducted prior to application of cross-species amplification of microsatellites.
The Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) is an important marine foodfish species in Southeast Asia and Australia. Genetic improvement of this species has been achieved to some extent through selective breeding programs since 1990s. Several genomic tools such as DNA markers, a linkage map, cDNA and BAC libraries have been developed to assist selective breeding. A physical map is still lacking, although it is essential for positional cloning of genes located in quantitative trait loci (QTL) and assembly of whole genome sequences.
Molecular genetic analyses of parentage provide insights into mating systems. Although there are 22,000 members in Malacostraca, not much has been known about mating systems in Malacostraca. The freshwater shrimp Caridina ensifera blue, is a new species belonging to Malacostraca which was discovered recently in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Due to its small body size and low fecundity, this species is an ideal species to study the occurrence and frequency of multiple paternity and to understand of how the low fecundity species persist and evolve.
Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) belongs to the family Cyprinidae which includes more than 2000 fish species. It is one of the most important freshwater food fish species in world aquaculture. A linkage map is an essential framework for mapping traits of interest and is often the first step towards understanding genome evolution. The aim of this study is to construct a first generation genetic map of grass carp using microsatellites and SNPs to generate a new resource for mapping QTL for economically important traits and to conduct a comparative mapping analysis to shed new insights into the evolution of fish genomes.
Reproductive strategy is a central feature of the ecology of invasive species as it determines the potential for population increase and range expansion. The red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, has invaded many countries and caused serious problems in freshwater ecosystems. However, little is known about the effects of environmental conditions on crayfish paternity and offspring traits in the wild. We studied these reproductive characteristics of P. clarkii in wild populations from two different habitats (ponds and ditches) in three locations with different environmental conditions in China. Genotyping of 1,436 offspring and 30 mothers of 30 broods was conducted by using four microsatellites. An analysis of genotyping results revealed that gravid females were the exclusive mother of the progeny they tended. Twenty-nine of 30 mothers had mated with multiple (2-4) males, each of which contributed differently to the number of offspring in a brood. The average number of fathers per brood and the number of offspring per brood were similar (P>0.05) among six sampling sites, indicating that in P. clarkii multiple paternity and offspring number per brood are independent of environmental conditions studied. Indirect benefits from increasing the genetic diversity of broods, male and sperm competition, and cryptic female choice are a possible explanation for the high level multiple paternity and different contribution of fathers to offspring in this species.
Fish diseases caused by pathogens are limiting their production and trade, affecting the economy generated by aquaculture. Innate immunity system is the first line of host defense in opposing pathogenic organisms or any other foreign material. For identification of immune-related genes in Asian seabass Lates calcarifer, an important marine foodfish species, we injected bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a commonly used elicitor of innate immune responses to eight individuals at the age of 35 days post-hatch and applied the suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) technique to selectively amplify spleen cDNA of differentially expressed genes.
Microsatellites in cDNA are useful as molecular markers because they represent transcribed genes and can be used as anchor markers for linkage and comparative mapping, as well as for studying genome evolution. Microsatellites in cDNA can be detected in existing ESTs by data mining. However, in most fish species, no ESTs are available or the number of ESTs is limited, although fishes represent half of the vertebrates on the earth. We developed a simple and efficient method for isolation of microsatellites from cDNA in fish.
Liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide 2 (LEAP-2) is a novel antimicrobial peptide (AMP) recently found in vertebrates, and exhibits distinct amino acid sequence, secondary structure and expression pattern from other peptides. In this study, the LEAP-2 gene and its full-length cDNA were cloned from grass carp. Grass carp LEAP-2 gene consists of two introns and three exons. The translated product contains 92 amino acids, including a 26 amino acids signal peptide and a mature peptide of 41 amino acids. Grass carp LEAP-2 gene was expressed in a wide range of tissues except blood, with the highest level of transcripts found in liver. Upon induction by Aeromonas hydrophila, its expression was significantly up-regulated in liver, gill, skin, muscle, spleen, blood, head kidney, heart and intestine, but down-regulated in trunk kidney and brain. The transcript level was high in embryos at the 16-cell stage but declined gradually afterwards, suggesting that LEAP-2 transcripts in early embryos might be maternal. Mature peptides obtained by in vitro expression displayed selective antimicrobial activities. These results together further our understanding of the physiological function of LEAP-2 in vertebrates.
Traceability through physical labels is well established, but it is not highly reliable as physical labels can be easily changed or lost. Application of DNA markers to the traceability of food plays an increasingly important role for consumer protection and confidence building. In this study, we tested the efficiency of 16 polymorphic microsatellites and their combinations for tracing 368 fish to four populations where they originated. Using the maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods, three most efficient microsatellites were required to assign over 95% of fish to the correct populations. Selection of markers based on the assignment score estimated with the software WHICHLOCI was most effective in choosing markers for individual assignment, followed by the selection based on the allele number of individual markers. By combining rapid DNA extraction, and high-throughput genotyping of selected microsatellites, it is possible to conduct routine genetic traceability with high accuracy in Asian seabass.
In aquaculture species, maintaining pedigree information and genetic variation in each generation is essential, but very difficult. In this study, we used nine microsatellites to genotype 2,520 offspring from four independent full-factorial crosses (10 males × 10 females) of Asian seabass to reconstruct pedigree and monitor the change of genetic variations. In all four crosses, over 96.8% of the offspring could be assigned to their parents, indicating the high power of the nine microsatellites for parentage assignment. This study revealed several interesting results: (1). In all four crosses, the contribution of parents to offspring was significantly uneven, and some dominant breeding fishes (i.e. brooders) were found; (2). In two mass crosses where the brooders were carefully checked for reproductive status, a majority (? 90%) of brooders contributed to offspring, whereas in another two crosses, where the brooders were randomly picked without checking reproductive status, only a few brooders (40.0-45.0%) produced offspring; (3). Females had more problems in successful spawning compared to males; and (4). In the two crosses where a few brooders produced offspring, there was a substantial loss in allelic (24.1-34.3%) and gene (20.5-25.7%) diversities in offspring, while in the other two crosses, the majority of allelic (96.8-97.0%) and gene diversities (94.8-97.1%) were maintained. These observations suggest that a routine molecular parentage analysis is required to maintain both allelic and gene diversity in breeding Asian seabass.
Higher seed yield is one of the objectives of jatropha breeding. However, genetic analysis of the yield traits has not been done in jatropha. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping was conducted to identify genetic factors controlling growth and seed yield in jatropha, a promising biofuel crop.
Movement of individuals influences individual reproductive success, fitness, genetic diversity and relationships among individuals within populations and gene exchange among populations. Competition between males or females for mating opportunities and/or local resources predicts a female bias in taxa with monogamous mating systems and a male-biased dispersal in polygynous species. In birds and mammals, the patterns of dispersal between sexes are well explored, while dispersal patterns in protandrous hermaphroditic fish species have not been studied. We collected 549 adult individuals of Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) from four locations in the South China Sea. To assess the difference in patterns of dispersal between sexes, we genotyped all individuals with 18 microsatellites. Significant genetic differentiation was detected among and within sampling locations. The parameters of population structure (F(ST)), relatedness (r) and the mean assignment index (mAIC), in combination with data on tagging-recapture, supplied strong evidences for female-biased dispersal in the Asian seabass. This result contradicts our initial hypothesis of no sex difference in dispersal. We suggest that inbreeding avoidance of females, female mate choice under the condition of low mate competition among males, and male resource competition create a female-biased dispersal. The bigger body size of females may be a cause of the female-biased movement. Studies of dispersal using data from DNA markers and tagging-recapture in hermaphroditic fish species could enhance our understanding of patterns of dispersal in fish.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that play crucial regulatory roles by targeting mRNAs for silencing. To identify miRNAs in Jatropha curcas L, a bioenergy crop, cDNA clones from two small RNA libraries of leaves and seeds were sequenced and analyzed using bioinformatic tools. Fifty-two putative miRNAs were found from the two libraries, among them six were identical to known miRNAs and 46 were novel. Differential expression patterns of 15 miRNAs in root, stem, leave, fruit and seed were detected using quantitative real-time PCR. Ten miRNAs were highly expressed in fruit or seed, implying that they may be involved in seed development or fatty acids synthesis in seed. Moreover, 28 targets of the isolated miRNAs were predicted from a jatropha cDNA library database. The miRNA target genes were predicted to encode a broad range of proteins. Sixteen targets had clear BLASTX hits to the Uniprot database and were associated with genes belonging to the three major gene ontology categories of biological process, cellular component, and molecular function. Four targets were identified for JcumiR004. By silencing JcumiR004 primary miRNA, expressions of the four target genes were up-regulated and oil composition were modulated significantly, indicating diverse functions of JcumiR004.
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