The impacts of Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil on morphology and function during embryonic development have been documented for a number of fish species, including the economically and ecologically important pelagic species, mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus). However, further investigations on molecular events and pathways responsible for developmental toxicity have been largely restricted due to the limited molecular data available for this species. We sought to establish the de novo transcriptomic database from the embryos and larvae of mahi-mahi exposed to water accommodated fractions (HEWAFs) of two DWH oil types (weathered and source oil), in an effort to advance our understanding of the molecular aspects involved during specific toxicity responses. By high throughput sequencing (HTS), we obtained the first de novo transcriptome of mahi-mahi, with 60,842 assembled transcripts and 30,518 BLAST hits. Among them, 2,345 genes were significantly regulated in 96hpf larvae after exposure to weathered oil. With comparative analysis to a reference-transcriptome-guided approach on gene ontology and tox-pathways, we confirmed the novel approach effective for exploring tox-pathways in non-model species, and also identified a list of co-expressed genes as potential biomarkers which will provide information for the construction of an Adverse Outcome Pathway which could be useful in Ecological Risk Assessments.
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