Liew, W.C., and Orbán, L. (2014) Zebrafish sex: a complicated affair. Briefings in Functional Genomics. 13(2):172-87.
In this review, we provide a detailed overview of studies on the elusive sex determination (SD) and gonad differentiation
mechanisms of zebrafish (Danio rerio). We show that the data obtained from most studies are compatible with polygenic sex determination (PSD), where the decision
is made by the allelic combinations of several loci. These loci are typically dispersed throughout the genome, but in some
teleost species a few of them might be located on a preferential pair of (sex) chromosomes. The PSD system has a much higher
level of variation of SD genotypes both at the level of gametes and the sexual genotype of individuals, than that of the chromosomal
sex determination systems. The early sexual development of zebrafish males is a complicated process, as they first develop
a ‘juvenile ovary’, that later undergoes a transformation to give way to a testis. To date, three major developmental pathways
were shown to be involved with gonad differentiation through the modulation of programmed cell death. In our opinion, there
are more pathways participating in the regulation of zebrafish gonad differentiation/transformation. Introduction of additional
powerful large-scale genomic approaches into the analysis of zebrafish reproduction will result in further deepening of our
knowledge as well as identification of additional pathways and genes associated with these processes in the near future.
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