A transcriptome derived female-specific marker from the invasive western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)

Dunja K. Lamatsch, Sofia Adolfsson, Alistair M. Senior, Guntram Christiansen, Maria Pichler, Yuichi Ozaki, Linnea Smeds, Manfred Schartl, Shinichi Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Sex-specific markers are a prerequisite for understanding reproductive biology, genetic factors involved in sex differences, mechanisms of sex determination, and ultimately the evolution of sex chromosomes. The Western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, may be considered a model species for sex-chromosome evolution, as it displays female heterogamety (ZW/ZZ), and is also ecologically interesting as a worldwide invasive species. Here, de novo RNA-sequencing on the gonads of sexually mature G. affinis was used to identify contigs that were highly transcribed in females but not in males (i.e., transcripts with ovary-specific expression). Subsequently, 129 primer pairs spanning 79 contigs were tested by PCR to identify sex-specific transcripts. Of those primer pairs, one female-specific DNA marker was identified, Sanger sequenced and subsequently validated in 115 fish. Sequence analyses revealed a high similarity between the identified sex-specific marker and the 3′ UTR of the aminomethyl transferase (amt) gene of the closely related platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus). This is the first time that RNA-seq has been used to successfully characterize a sexspecific marker in a fish species in the absence of a genome map. Additionally, the identified sex-specific marker represents one of only a handful of such markers in fishes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0118214
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Feb 23
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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