Hypoxia causes transgenerational impairments in reproduction of fish

Simon Yuan WANG, Karen LAU, Keng-Po LAI, Jiang-Wen ZHANG, Anna Chung-Kwan TSE, Jing-Woei LI, Yin TONG, Ting-Fung CHAN, Chris Kong-Chu WONG, Jill Man-Ying CHIU, Doris Wai-Ting AU, Alice Sze-Tsai WONG, Richard Yuen-Chong KONG, Shiu Sun Rudolf WU

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157 Citations (Scopus)


Hypoxia is amongst the most widespread and pressing problems in aquatic environments. Here we demonstrate that fish (Oryzias melastigma) exposed to hypoxia show reproductive impairments (retarded gonad development, decrease in sperm count and sperm motility) in F1 and F2 generations despite these progenies (and their germ cells) having never been exposed to hypoxia. We further show that the observed transgenerational reproductive impairments are associated with a differential methylation pattern of specific genes in sperm of both F0 and F2 coupled with relevant transcriptomic and proteomic alterations, which may impair spermatogenesis. The discovered transgenerational and epigenetic effects suggest that hypoxia might pose a dramatic and long-lasting threat to the sustainability of fish populations. Because the genes regulating spermatogenesis and epigenetic modifications are highly conserved among vertebrates, these results may also shed light on the potential transgenerational effects of hypoxia on other vertebrates, including humans. Copyright © The Author(s) 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12114
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Wang, S. Y., Lau, K., Lai, K.-P., Zhang, J.-W., Tse, A. C.-K., Li, J.-W., ... Wu, R. S.-S. (2016). Hypoxia causes transgenerational impairments in reproduction of fish. Nature Communications, 7, Article 12114. Retrieved July 4, 2016, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12114.


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