Aquatic habitats are home to large animals such as marine mammals. Toothed whales have special fat deposits in the forehead region (called the melon) of their heads that are associated with echolocation underwater. This fat is also important industrially for human use. Due to the lack of gene expression information on the melon fat of toothed whales, we investigated the melon morphology via the transcriptomic approach. Four parts of the melons of three individual Risso’s dolphins were used for total RNA extraction, cDNA library preparation, and sequencing via next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. After the downstream analysis of raw sequence data, we determined that the outer layer of the melon’s ML4 region played multifunctional roles. The 36 differentially expressed genes of outer melon included ASB5, MYH13, MYOM2, and MYOM3. These genes are associated with muscle function and energy metabolism. Gene clustering and functional enrichment analyses also represented enrichments, such as the pentose phosphate pathway and morphogenesis related to lipid metabolism and muscle functions. This study will be crucial for muscle and fat functional-related molecular studies on aquatic mammals. Additionally, the study presents potential pathways, such as melon fat biosynthesis, for sustainable future developments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Geography, Planning and Development