What is it about?

We used gene editing to mutate specific genes in the zebrafish model. When both forms of the secretogranin-2 gene was mutated, sexual activity dramatically decreased. It seems that females have normal eggs, but they do not ovulate well. Only 1 in 10 couples carrying the double mutation can breed. This increased 3-4 times when both sexes are injected with the neuropeptide secretoneurin. It is the secretogranin-2gene that codes for secretoneurin and other potentially bioactive hormonal peptides.

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Why is it important?

We have uncovered a new function for these genes. That a single injection of the peptide restores normal sexual function indicates that secretoneurin is new player in the control of reproduction. Given that secretoneurin is highly similar across all vertebrate animals, what we discover in fish may have applications in other species, including humans. This knowledge may be used to develop new methods for induced spawning in cultured fish, or eventually lead to novel approaches in reproductive medicine.


This is a great example of a successful international collaboration. Canadian and Chinese researchers working together, bringing highly complimentary skills and ideas to the project. We see it as the tip of the proverbial iceberg with regards to the other bioactive peptides that may be produced from secretogranin-2 and that may also be critical for optimal reproduction in vertebrate species.

Vance Trudeau
University of Ottawa

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Targeted mutation of secretogranin-2 disrupts sexual behavior and reproduction in zebrafish, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2002004117.
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