Background: Catfish has a male-heterogametic (XY) sex determination system, but genes involved in gonadogenesis, spermatogenesis, testicular determination, and sex determination are poorly understood. As a first step of understanding the transcriptome of the testis, here, we conducted RNA-Seq analysis using high throughput Illumina sequencing.
Methodology/principal findings: A total of 269.6 million high quality reads were assembled into 193,462 contigs with a N50 length of 806 bp. Of these contigs, 67,923 contigs had hits to a set of 25,307 unigenes, including 167 unique genes that had not been previously identified in catfish. A meta-analysis of expressed genes in the testis and in the gynogen (double haploid female) allowed the identification of 5,450 genes that are preferentially expressed in the testis, providing a pool of putative male-biased genes. Gene ontology and annotation analysis suggested that many of these male-biased genes were involved in gonadogenesis, spermatogenesis, testicular determination, gametogenesis, gonad differentiation, and possibly sex determination.
Conclusion/significance: We provide the first transcriptome-level analysis of the catfish testis. Our analysis would lay the basis for sequential follow-up studies of genes involved in sex determination and differentiation in catfish.