In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the transcriptome of one- and two-year-old male and female brains of Cynoglossus semilaevis by high-throughput Illumina sequencing. A total of 77,066 transcripts, corresponding to 21,475 unigenes, were obtained with a N50 value of 4349 bp. Of these unigenes, 33 genes were found to have significant differential expression and potentially associated with growth, from which 18 genes were down-regulated and 12 genes were up-regulated in two-year-old males, most of these genes had no significant differences in expression among one-year-old males and females and two-year-old females. A similar analysis was conducted to look for genes associated with reproduction; 25 genes were identified, among them, five genes were found to be down regulated and 20 genes up regulated in two-year-old males, again, most of the genes had no significant expression differences among the other three. The performance of up regulated genes in Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis was significantly different between two-year-old males and females. Males had a high gene expression in genetic information processing, while female's highly expressed genes were mainly enriched on organismal systems. Our work identified a set of sex-biased genes potentially associated with growth and reproduction that might be the candidate factors affecting sexual dimorphism of tongue sole, laying the foundation to understand the complex process of sex determination of this economic valuable species.
Keywords: sexually dimorphic; tongue sole; transcriptome analysis.