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MicroRNAs and their involvement in sexual differentiation in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Grant number: 11/13903-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2012
Effective date (End): March 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:César Martins
Grantee:Juliana Giusti
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNA molecules (~ 20 nucleotides) that post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of endogenous genes, shaping the transcriptome and protein production. In general, miRNAs are highly conserved in the genomes of eukaryotes are considered vital elements in many biological processes during development, such as growth, differentiation and cell death. In addition, the association between abundance and diversity of miRNAs and complexity of the taxonomic group, miRNAs become important elements in both the speciation process, and as phylogenetic markers for evolutionary research. The great diversity of identified miRNAs is restricted to a few species and only a fraction of the total predicted targets of miRNAs has been characterized functionally. In this sense, the use of new sequencing technology generation linked to gene expression analysis by RT-qPCR, microRNoma enable the identification and experimental validation of target genes of miRNAs in species. The Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, can be considered an excellent biological model for the study of miRNAs in vertebrates due to their economic importance and complete genome sequenced. Besides, it has evolutionary importance of belonging to the group of African cichlids, which have undergone rapid and extensive adaptive radiation. Males of the species showed better growth and fattening performance, making them more economically indicated in animal production. Thus, knowledge of genetic mechanisms involved in sex determination in O. niloticus find application in basic biology and in the productive sector. Therefore, this proposal aims to evaluate the role of microRNAs in the determination and sexual differentiation of Nile tilapia. It is hoped in this way contribute to the clarification of which miRNAs are involved in sex determination and differentiation and the role of these pathways in the Nile tilapia, aimed at improving productivity in aquaculture.

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
GIUSTI, Juliana. MicroRNAs e seu papel no desenvolvimento e diferenciação sexual da Tilápia do Nilo (Oreochromis niloticus). 2015. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Instituto de Biociências. Botucatu Botucatu.

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