Effects of Temperature on Gene Expression and Sex Determination in the Mangrove Rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus
Orlando, Edward F
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Rivulus is a hermaphroditic, self-fertilizing fish species that possesses an ovotestis and, in the wild, exist as androdioecious populations comprised of hermaphrodites and males. Following embryonic incubation at an ambient temperature of 25 °C, rivulus develop normally as hermaphrodites. Embryos exposed to a lower temperature of 20 °C during a critical phase of embryogenesis develop as males. In this study, rivulus embryos were maintained at ambient (25 °C), low (20 °C), or high (31 °C) temperatures during various stages of embryogenesis. The expression of seven evolutionary conserved genes with known relevance to gonadal differentiation including figá, foxl2, cyp19a1b, cyp19a1a, dmrt1, sox9a, and sox9b was measured using real-time PCR. The expression of cyp19a1a was downregulated at 20 °C and the expression of ovarian-specific genes increased throughout embryogenesis. These results provide the first data documenting how temperature affects the expression of genes relevant to sex determination during embryogenesis in rivulus.