Comparative Transcriptomic Study of Muscle Provides New Insights into the Growth Superiority of a Novel Grouper Hybrid

PLoS One. 2016 Dec 22;11(12):e0168802. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168802. eCollection 2016.


Grouper (Epinephelus spp.) is a group of fish species with great economic importance in Asian countries. A novel hybrid grouper, generated by us and called the Hulong grouper (Hyb), has better growth performance than its parents, E. fuscoguttatus (Efu, ♀) and E. lanceolatus (Ela, ♂). We previously reported that the GH/IGF (growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor) system in the brain and liver contributed to the superior growth of the Hyb. In this study, using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), we analyzed RNA expression levels of comprehensive genes in the muscle of the hybrid and its parents. Our data showed that genes involved in glycolysis and calcium signaling in addition to troponins are up-regulated in the Hyb. The results suggested that the activity of the upstream GH/IGF system in the brain and liver, along with the up-regulated glycolytic genes as well as ryanodine receptors (RyRs) and troponins related to the calcium signaling pathway in muscle, led to enhanced growth in the hybrid grouper. Muscle contraction inducing growth could be the major contributor to the growth superiority in our novel hybrid grouper, which may be a common mechanism for hybrid superiority in fishes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bass / genetics*
  • Bass / growth & development*
  • Fish Proteins / genetics*
  • Hybrid Vigor / genetics*
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcriptome / genetics*


  • Fish Proteins

Grant support

BGI-Shenzhen provided support in the form of salaries for authors YS, YH, GH, X. Zhang, ZR, X. Zhao, CG, XL, XY and QS but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. Our work was financially supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (No.31370047), Special Project on the Integration of Industry, Education and Research of Guangdong Province (No. 2013B090800017), Shenzhen Special Program for Future Industrial Development (No. JSGG20141020113728803), Shenzhen Dapeng Special Program for Industrial Development (No. KY20160102), and Special Fund for State Oceanic Administration Scientific Research in the Public Interest (No. 201305018).