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Ontogeny of sexual differentiation in different strains of zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Authors
  • Maack, G.1
  • Segner, H.2
  • Tyler, C.R.1
  • 1 University of Exeter, School of Biological Sciences, Prince of Wales Road, Devon, EX4 6JT, UK , Devon
  • 2 University of Berne, Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Länggass-Strase 122, Berne, 3012, Switzerland , Berne
Type
Published Article
Journal
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2003
Volume
28
Issue
1-4
Pages
125–128
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/B:FISH.0000030497.59378.88
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The zebrafish (ZF) undergoes juvenile hermaphroditism, where in all fish, the gonad first develops as an ovary-like structure, before the sex is fixed and the gonad then differentiates into either a testis or an ovary. Sexual differentiation is being adopted as an endpoint for assessing endocrine disrupting chemicals, yet there is only very limited information on the timing and variability in sexual differentiation process both within and between strains of ZF. In this study, using gonad histology, the ontogeny of sexual differentiation was studied in two strains of ZF, one with a high level of heterozygocity (WIK strain) and another that had been in-bred for several generations. There was a high variability in the timing of sex differentiation between individuals within a specific strain (with no obvious relationship with body mass), but there were no differences between the two strains. Transformation of the immature gonad into testes in males started in week 5 post fertilization (pf) and completion of sexual differentiation for all fish in both study populations occurred by week 11–12 pf. The size of the fish containing transforming gonads in the WIK strain and in-bred strain were similar (ranging from 12 to 23 mm, and from 13 to 22 mm total length, respectively).

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