Understanding Muscle Growth in Hybrid Fish Using Advanced Biological Techniques

Jenn Hoskins
11th June, 2024

Understanding Muscle Growth in Hybrid Fish Using Advanced Biological Techniques

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by North Carolina State University focused on hybrid striped bass to understand growth differences
  • Larger fish had more small muscle fibers, while smaller fish had fewer, larger fibers
  • Specific metabolites and genes were identified as significantly different between larger and smaller fish, suggesting certain metabolic pathways and genetic expressions are more active in larger fish
Understanding growth regulatory pathways is crucial in aquaculture, fisheries, and vertebrate physiology. A recent study conducted by North Carolina State University utilized machine learning techniques to analyze metabolomic and transcriptomic data from hybrid striped bass (white bass Morone chrysops x striped bass M. saxatilis) to identify key factors influencing body size in a production cohort[1]. The study focused on the top and bottom 10% of individuals by body size, examining small molecule profiles and gene expression data from liver and white skeletal muscle tissues. The goal was to uncover patterns and sensitivities that could explain the differences in growth rates. This research builds on previous findings about muscle growth and development in teleost fish. Teleost muscle development begins early in embryonic life and is influenced by molecules in the egg yolk and environmental factors such as temperature and oxygen[2]. The process involves the proliferation, migration, fusion, and differentiation of myogenic precursor cells, which contribute to muscle fibers throughout the fish's life cycle. This continuous production of muscle fibers is necessary for the dramatic increase in muscle mass from embryo to adult[2]. The study by North Carolina State University used advanced machine learning techniques to analyze complex biological data. Machine learning pattern recognition and sensitivity analysis can identify subtle differences in metabolic and genetic profiles that might be missed by traditional methods. By focusing on the liver and white skeletal muscle, the researchers aimed to pinpoint specific metabolic pathways and gene expressions that correlate with larger body sizes. One of the key findings was the identification of specific metabolites and genes that were significantly different between the larger and smaller fish. These differences suggest that certain metabolic pathways and genetic expressions are more active or regulated differently in larger fish. This aligns with previous research on the influence of environmental factors on muscle growth. For example, a study on Atlantic salmon found that freshwater temperature regimes affected the rate of muscle fiber recruitment and hypertrophy, with significant differences in fiber number and nuclear content between treatments[3]. The North Carolina State University study also highlighted the importance of understanding the role of satellite cells in muscle growth. Satellite cells are primary sources for muscle regeneration and have the potential to self-renew, functioning as genuine skeletal muscle stem cells[4]. The density and activity of these cells could be a crucial factor in the growth differences observed in the hybrid striped bass. By integrating metabolomic and transcriptomic data, the researchers provided a comprehensive view of the biological processes underlying growth differences. This approach allows for a more detailed understanding of how various factors interact to influence growth, offering potential pathways for enhancing growth rates in aquaculture. In conclusion, the study by North Carolina State University advances our understanding of growth regulation in hybrid striped bass by identifying key metabolic and genetic factors associated with larger body sizes. This research builds on previous findings about muscle development and environmental influences on growth, providing valuable insights for improving aquaculture practices.

GeneticsBiochemAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Combinatorial metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis of muscle growth in hybrid striped bass (female white bass Morone chrysops x male striped bass M. saxatilis)

Published 10th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Growth and the regulation of myotomal muscle mass in teleost fish.


3) Freshwater environment affects growth rate and muscle fibre recruitment in seawater stages of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.).

Journal: The Journal of experimental biology, Issue: Vol 206, Issue Pt 8, Apr 2003

4) Tissue-specific stem cells: lessons from the skeletal muscle satellite cell.


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