On grounds of the especially limited numbers of identified gonad-specific or gonad-related genes of large yellow croaker Larimichthys crocea which may represent a major obstacle for the study of gonad development and sex differentiation, we initiated a sequencing program of Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) in large yellow croaker. In this study, we firstly constructed a normalized gonad cDNA library using the combination of SMART technique and DSN treatment. The titer of amplified cDNA library was 4.8x10(11) and the percentage of unique cDNA sequences of the library was 82.49%. 2916 unique cDNAs were clustered from the 3535 high quality ESTs. Among the 1785 ESTs which had significant homology with known genes in the NCBI database, about 64 significant gonad-related genes were found, accounting for 3.59% of the total unique cDNAs. Specifically, the testis-specific LRR gene and testis-specific chromodomain Y-like protein gene were identified from fish for the first time. Six gonad-related microsatellite-containing ESTs were identified from the 129 ESTs containing 149 microsatellites. Expression patterns of 10 of these gonad-related gene homologues in ovaries and testes were examined by qRT-PCR. The results will be powerful resources for our further investigation to establish the molecular mechanisms of gonad development and sex differentiation in large yellow croaker.
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