Genetic Control of Sex Determination and Differentiation in Fish

Part of the Diversity and Commonality in Animals book series (DCA)


The sex of an individual is determined by the type of reproductive organs that they have, i.e., testes or ovaries. These reproductive organs originate from bipotential gonads. Therefore, sex is determined by the direction of gonadal development of a bipotential gonad, which can develop into either a testis or an ovary. Various strategies to determine the sex of a gonad are found in fish, and these strategies range from gonochorism, in which ovaries or testes are developed in different individuals, to sequential hermaphroditism including protogyny, protandry, and bidirectional sex change, and synchronous hermaphroditism. In gonochoristic species, the direction of gonadal development must be decided at a specific time. Regarding the timing, a cue establishes the bifurcation point, and the cue is either a genetic or an environmental factor. To describe how these cues control sex differentiation, this chapter focuses on gonochoristic fish. This chapter first describes the sex-determining genes (i.e., genetic cues) in fish and then summarizes gonadal development including sex reversals induced by non-genomic factors (environmental cues) and genomic factors.


Oryzias Medaka Master sex-determining gene Gonadal development Sex reversal 


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© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Bioscience Research & EducationUtsunomiya UniversityUtsunomiyaJapan

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