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Title

Appropriate rearing density in domesticated zebrafish to avoid masculinization: links with the stress response

AuthorsRibas, Laia ; Valdivieso, A. ; Díaz, Noelia ; Piferrer, Francesc
KeywordsSex differentiation
Stress
Sex ratio
Cortisol
Danio rerio
Issue DateMar-2017
PublisherCompany of Biologists
CitationJournal of Experimental Biology 220(6): 1056-1064 (2017)
AbstractThe zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a well-established experimental model in many research fields but the loss of the primary sex-determining region during the process of domestication renders laboratory strains of zebrafish susceptible to the effects of environmental factors on sex ratios. Further, an essential husbandry aspect – the optimal rearing density to avoid stress-induced masculinization – is not known. We carried out two experiments: the first focusing on the effects of density on survival, growth and sex ratio by rearing zebrafish at different initial densities (9, 19, 37 and 74 fish per litre) for 3 months (6–90 days post-fertilization, dpf), and the second focusing on the effects of cortisol during the sex differentiation period (15–45 dpf) for zebrafish reared at low density. The results showed an increase in the number of males in groups subjected to the two highest initial rearing densities; we also observed a reduction of survival and growth in a density-dependent manner. Furthermore, zebrafish treated with cortisol during the sex differentiation period showed a complete masculinization of the population; treatment with the cortisol synthesis inhibitor metyrapone negated the effects of exogenous cortisol. Our results indicate that the process of sex differentiation in domesticated zebrafish can be perturbed by elevated stocking density and that this effect is likely to be mediated by an increase in cortisol through the stress response. However, the underlying mechanism needs further study
Description9 pages, 6 figures, 1 table, supplementary information http://jeb.biologists.org/content/220/6/1056?panels_ajax_tab_tab=jnl_template_cob_tab_supp&panels_ajax_tab_trigger=supplemental
Publisher version (URL)https://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.144980
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/150823
Identifiersdoi: 10.1242/jeb.144980
issn: 0022-0949
e-issn: 1477-9145
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