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Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Growth-Related Genes in Juvenile Chinese Sea Cucumber, Russian Sea Cucumber, and Their Hybrids

Wang, Zhicheng, Cui, Jun, Song, Jian, Wang, Haoze, Gao, Kailun, Qiu, Xuemei, Gou, Meng, Li, Xin, Hu, Ziwen, Wang, Xiuli, Chang, Yaqing
Marine biotechnology 2018 v.20 no.2 pp. 193-205
Apostichopus japonicus, aquaculture, heterosis, hybrids, juveniles, mitogen-activated protein kinase, purebreds, reciprocal crosses, signal transduction, single nucleotide polymorphism, transcription (genetics), transcriptomics, unigenes, China, Russia
Heterosis is important for sea cucumber breeding, but its molecular mechanism remains largely unexplored. In this study, parental lines of Apostichopus japonicus from Russia (R) and China (C) were used to construct hybrids (CR and RC) by reciprocal crossing. We examined the transcriptional profiles of the hybrids (CR and RC) and the purebreds (CC and RR) at different developmental times. A total of 60.27 Gb of clean data was obtained, and 176,649 unigenes were identified, of which 50,312 unigenes were annotated. A total of 414,536 SNPs were identified. A total of 7011 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained between the purebreds and hybrids at 45 days after fertilization (DAF), and a total of 8218 DEGs were obtained between the purebreds and hybrids at 75 DAF. In addition, a total of 7652 DEGs were obtained between 45 DAF and 75 DAF. The significant DEGs were mainly involved in the MAPK and FOXO signaling pathways, especially in the Ras-Raf-MEK1/2-ERK module, which may be a key regulator of development and growth in juvenile A. japonicus. In addition, we also identified key growth-related genes, such as fgfs, igfs, megfs and hgfs, which were upregulated in the hybrids (RC and CR); these genes may play important roles in heterosis in A. japonicus. Our study provides fundamental information on the molecular mechanisms underlying heterosis in sea cucumber and might suggest strategies for the selection of rapidly growing strains of sea cucumber in aquaculture.