Inhibition of ovarian development and instances of sex reversal in genotypic female sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) exposed to elevated water temperature
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Inhibition of ovarian development and instances of sex reversal in genotypic female sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) exposed to elevated water temperature

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  • Journal Title:
    General and Comparative Endocrinology
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    This study determined high temperature effects on ovarian development in a marine groundfish species, sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), with potential application in sex reversal or sterilization for aquaculture. Monosex female (XX-genotype) sablefish larvae (∼30 mm) were randomly divided into three groups and exposed to control (15.6 °C ± 0.8 °C), moderate (20.4 °C ± 0.5 °C), or high (21.7 °C ± 0.5 °C) temperatures for 19 weeks. Treated fish were then tagged and transferred to ambient seawater (11.2 °C ± 2.3 °C) for one year to determine whether temperature effects on reproductive development were maintained post-treatment. Fish were periodically sampled for gonadal histology, gene expression and plasma 17β-estradiol (E2) analyses to assess gonadal development. Short-term (4-week) exposure to elevated temperatures had only minor effects, whereas longer exposure (12–19 weeks) markedly inhibited ovarian development. Fish from the moderate and high treatment groups had significantly less developed ovaries relative to controls, and mRNA levels for germ cell (vasa, zpc) and apoptosis-associated genes (p53, casp8) generally indicated gonadal degeneration. The high treatment group also had significantly reduced plasma E2 levels and elevated gonadal amh gene expression. After one year at ambient temperatures, however, ovaries of moderate and high treatment fish exhibited compensatory recovery and were indistinguishable from controls. Two genotypic females possessing immature testes (neomales) were observed in the high treatment group, indicating sex reversal had occurred (6% rate). These results demonstrate that extreme elevated temperatures may inhibit ovarian development or trigger sex reversal. High temperature treatment is likely not an effective sterilization method but may be preferable for sablefish neomale broodstock production.
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    General and Comparative Endocrinology, 279, 88-98
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    Accepted Manuscript
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