Zebrafish have emerged as a major model organism to study vertebrate reproduction due to their high fecundity and external development of eggs and embryos. The mechanisms through which zebrafish determine their sex have come under extensive investigation, as they lack a definite sex-determining chromosome and appear to have a highly complex method of sex determination. Single-gene mutagenesis has been employed to isolate the function of genes that determine zebrafish sex and regulate sex-specific differentiation, and to explore the interactions of genes that promote female or male sexual fate. In this review, we focus on recent advances in understanding of the mechanisms, including genetic and environmental factors, governing zebrafish sex development with comparisons to gene functions in other species to highlight conserved and potentially species-specific mechanisms for specifying and maintaining sexual fate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Genetics
  • Ovary
  • RNA binding protein
  • Sex determination
  • Testis


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