Reproductive switching analysis of Daphnia similoides between sexual female and parthenogenetic female by transcriptome comparison

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 27;6:34241. doi: 10.1038/srep34241.


The water flea Daphnia are planktonic crustaceans commonly found in freshwater environment that can switch their reproduction mode from parthenogenesis to sexual reproduction to adapt to the external environment. As such, Daphnia are great model organisms to study the mechanism of reproductive switching, the underlying mechanism of reproduction and development in cladocerans and other animals. However, little is known about the Daphnia's reproductive behaviour at a molecular level. We constructed a genetic database of the genes expressed in a sexual female (SF) and a parthenogenetic female (PF) of D. similoides using Illumina HiSeq 2500. A total of 1,763 differentially expressed genes (865 up- and 898 down-regulated) were detected in SF. Of the top 30 up-regulated SF unigenes, the top 4 unigenes belonged to the Chitin_bind_4 family. In contrast, of the top down-regulated SF unigenes, the top 3 unigenes belonged to the Vitellogenin_N family. This is the first study to indicate genes that may have a crucial role in reproductive switching of D. similoides, which could be used as candidate genes for further functional studies. Thus, this study provides a rich resource for investigation and elucidation of reproductive switching in D. similoides.