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The timing and extent of 'juvenile ovary' phase are highly variable during zebrafish testis differentiation

Wang, X.G., Bartfai, R., Sleptsova-Freidrich, I. and Orbán, L. (2007) The timing and extent of 'juvenile ovary' phase are highly variable during zebrafish testis differentiation. Journal of Fish Biology, 70 (sa). pp. 33-44.

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Gonad differentiation in male zebrafish involves a transformation from a ‘juvenile ovary’ to testis. In our study, this phenomenon was analysed using a stable transgenic line (vas::egfp) created by Krovel & Olsen (Mechanisms of Development, 116: 141–150, 2002). Our data obtained by histological and immunohistochemical methods show that the onset of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression marks the conversion of the bipotential gonad into a ‘juvenile ovary’, and its subsequent decrease in the males indicates transformation into a testis. Furthermore, during the ‘juvenile ovary’ stage, a high level of variation was observed among individuals not only in the starting point and duration of EGFP expression but also in its intensity. The intensity of reporter expression in the males ranged from a high level of expression – similar to that observed in females – to invisible expression and correlated with the number of oocytes, the shape of ‘juvenile ovary’ and its lumen. Therefore, the authors conclude that although all males develop ‘juvenile ovaries’, they differ vastly in the extent of their commitment toward femaleness during this stage before testis differentiation. The differentiating zebrafish testis shows morphological features similar to those of the transforming gonad of protogynous hermaphrodites, and therefore, it could be a good model for the study of the process of female-to-male sex change in adult teleosts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
Copyright: 2007 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
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