Characterizing ovarian gene expression during oocyte growth in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)


Vertebrate oocytes undergo dramatic changes during development as they accumulate many RNA transcripts, glycoproteins, and yolk proteins, necessary to ensure proper fertilization and embryogenesis. Oogenesis in teleosts often requires several years for completion, but very little is known about the early developmental stages. Recently, two-stage gene expression comparisons were made during oocyte growth in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), but more broad-scale, comprehensive assessments have not been conducted. The objectives of the present study were to characterize the gene expression patterns throughout oocyte growth in cod and compare them to changes previously identified in coho salmon. A quantitative PCR survey was conducted using 50 genes at six ovarian stages, ranging from the onset of primary growth (oocyte differentiation) to late vitellogenesis. Most expression patterns could be grouped into three major clusters, consisting of oocyte-derived (cluster 1) and likely follicle cell (clusters 2 and 3) genes. Oocyte genes were elevated during primary growth, while many follicle cell transcripts were abundant during oocyte differentiation and vitellogenesis. Few expression changes identified in coho salmon were evident in cod, which is likely due to differences in reproductive strategies. These results demonstrate that dynamic changes in gene expression occur during oocyte growth in teleost fish.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics



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