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Socially controlled male-to-female sex reversal in the protogynous orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides.

Journal of fish biology (2019-01-27)
Jiaxing Chen, Ling Xiao, Cheng Peng, Zhifeng Ye, Dengdong Wang, Yuqing Yang, Haifa Zhang, Mi Zhao, Shuisheng Li, Haoran Lin, Yong Zhang
ABSTRACT

Socially controlled sex change in teleosts is a dramatic example of adaptive reproductive plasticity. In many cases, the occurrence of sex change is triggered by a change in the social context, such as the disappearance of the dominant individual. The orange-spotted grouper Epinephelus coioides is a typical protogynous hermaphrodite fish that changes sex from female to male and remains male throughout its life span. In this study, male-to-female sex reversal in male Epinephelus coioides was successfully induced by social isolation. The body length and mass, gonadal change, serum sex steroid hormone levels and sex-related gene expression patterns during the process of socially controlled male-to-female sex reversal in E. coioides were systematically examined. This report investigates the physiological mechanisms of the socially controlled male-to-female sex reversal process in a protogynous hermaphrodite grouper species. The results enable us to study the physiological control of sex change, not only from female to male, but also from male to female.