Monday, January 18, 2010

UNDERSTANDING THE GENETIC BASIS OF SEX AND FERTILITY IN SHRIMP: EXPRESSION PATTERNS OF GENES ISOLATED FROM Penaeus japonicus GONADS

Food Futures National Research Flagship
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 120, Cleveland, Q Australia 4163
Tamera.Callaghan@csiro.au
Significant advances in the domestication, selective breeding and genetic improvement of cultured shrimp species have been achieved globally. As a result, the production of sterile stocks which are genetically protected has become increasingly important. Several methods, including polyploidy and irradiation, have been investigated to induce sterility in penaeid species. While these methods have had varying degrees of success, a method which consistently confers 100% sterility is yet to be achieved.

As penaeids are sexually dimorphic, with females growing significantly larger than males, methods to produce all-female populations would also have significant commercial benefits through improved pond yields at harvest. As the genetic mechanisms that control sex and fertility are often linked, the advancement of our understanding of the genetic differences between females and males, and determining the genetic basis of sex and fertility in penaeid species is of significant commercial interest.

Genes expressed in the testes and ovaries of Penaeus japonicus have been isolated using suppression subtractive hybridisation. Genes which exhibit sex-specific expression are being characterised and their expression profiles are being examined in individuals at different developmental stages using quantitative PCR. The cell types in which they are expressed, and the timing and level of their expression are being determined. This knowledge will be applied to the production of sterile and/or monosex prawn populations using gene regulation technology and will assist us to improve our understanding of the processes that control sexual differentiation in penaeid shrimp

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