In the last decade, myostatin (MSTN), a member of the TGFβ superfamily, has emerged as a strong inhibitor of muscle growth in mammals. In fish many studies reveal a strong conservation of mstn gene organization, sequence, and protein structures. Because of ancient genome duplication, teleostei may have retained two copies of mstn genes and even up to four copies in salmonids due to additional genome duplication event. In sharp contrast to mammals, the different fish mstn orthologs are widely expressed with a tissue-specific expression pattern. Quantification of mstn mRNA in fish under different physiological conditions, demonstrates that endogenous expression of mstn paralogs is rarely related to fish muscle growth rate. In addition, attempts to inhibit MSTN activity did not consistently enhance muscle growth as in mammals. In vitro, MSTN stimulates myotube atrophy and inhibits proliferation but not differentiation of myogenic cells as in mammals. In conclusion, given the strong mstn expression non-muscle tissues of fish, we propose a new hypothesis stating that fish MSTN functions as a general inhibitors of cell proliferation and cell growth to control tissue mass but is not specialized into a strong muscle regulator. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.