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

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

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State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Institute of Aquatic Economic Animals and Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Aquatic Economic Animals, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Shenzhen Key Lab of Marine Genomics, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Molecular Breeding in Marine Economic Animals, BGI, Shenzhen, China.
Center for Marine Research, School of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China.


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.

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Conflict of interest statement

BGI-Shenzhen provided support in the form of salaries for authors YS, YH, GH, X. Zhang, ZR, X. Zhao, CG, XL, XY and QS. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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