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Tilapia sex determination: Where temperature and genetics meet

Baroiller J.F., D'Cotta H., Bezault E., Wessels S., Hoerstgen-Schwark G.. 2009. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 153 (1) : p. 30-38. International Symposium on Fish Endocrinology. 6, 2008-06-23/2008-06-26, Calgary (Canada).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.11.018

This review deals with the complex sex determining system of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, governed by the interactions between a genetic determination and the influence of temperature, shown in both domestic and wild populations. Naturally sex reversed individuals are strongly suggested in two wild populations. This can be due to the masculinising temperatures which some fry encounter during their sex differentiation period when they colonise shallow waters, and/or to the influence of minor genetic factors. Differences regarding a) thermal responsiveness of sex ratios between and within Nile tilapia populations, b) maternal and paternal effects on temperature dependent sex ratios and c) nearly identical results in offspring of repeated matings, demonstrate that thermosensitivity is under genetic control. Selection experiments to increase the thermosensitivity revealed high responses in the high and low sensitive lines. The high-line showed ~ 90% males after 2 generations of selection whereas the weakly sensitive line had 54% males. This is the first evidence that a surplus of males in temperature treated groups can be selected as a quantitative trait. Expression profiles of several genes (Cyp19a, Foxl2, Amh, Sox9a,b) from the gonad and brain were analysed to define temperature action on the sex determining/differentiating cascade in tilapia. The coexistence of GSD and TSD is discussed.

Mots-clés : oreochromis niloticus; température; génétique animale; détermination du sexe; différenciation sexuelle

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