Research highlight

Flatfish genome and sex chromosome evolution

Nature Genetics

February 3, 2014

The whole-genome sequence of the half-smooth tongue sole, the first flatfish to be sequenced, is reported in Nature Genetics. The work provides insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes.

The half-smooth tongue sole undergoes a transition from living in the open sea to seabed during which time the fish undergoes a metamorphosis as part of adaptation to the new environment, shifting from a symmetric to asymmetric body shape.

Songlin Chen and colleagues sequenced the genomes of a male (which has sex chromosomes ZZ) and a female (ZW) Chinese half-smooth tongue sole, Cynoglossus semilaevis. Their analyses provide a view into the structure and evolution of the tongue sole sex chromosomes Z and W and suggest that they evolved from a pair of autosomes (chromosomes that are not sex chromosomes). They also identify genes showing differential regulation between pre and post-metamorphosis fish, suggesting an involvement of these genes in adaptation to the seabed environment.

doi: 10.1038/ng.2890

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