Sex-biased dynamics of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) gene expression patterns

Genomics. 2022 Jan;114(1):266-277. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2021.12.010. Epub 2021 Dec 18.


The study of the differences between sexes presents an excellent model to unravel how phenotypic variation is achieved from a similar genetic background. Sticklebacks are of particular interest since evidence of a heteromorphic chromosome pair has not always been detected. The present study investigated sex-biased mRNA and small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) expression patterns in the brain, adipose tissues, and gonads of the three-spined stickleback. The sncRNA analysis indicated that regulatory functions occurred mainly in the gonads. Alleged miRNA-mRNA interactions were established and a mapping bias of differential expressed transcripts towards chromosome 19 was observed. Key players previously shown to control sex determination and differentiation in other fish species but also genes like gapdh were among the transcripts identified. This is the first report in the three-spined stickleback demonstrating tissue-specific expression comprising both mRNA and sncRNA between sexes, emphasizing the importance of mRNA-miRNA interactions as well as new presumed genes not yet identified to have gender-specific roles.

Keywords: Gender; Gene expression; RNAseq; Three-spined stickleback; Transcriptome; miRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fishes / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Gonads
  • Smegmamorpha* / genetics