Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2011 2019


Gene-centric theories of evolution by natural selection have been popularized and remain generally accepted in both scientific and public paradigms. While gene-centrism is certainly parsimonious, its explanations fall short of describing two patterns of evolutionary and social phenomena: the evolution of sex and the evolution of social altruism. I review and analyze current theories on the evolution of sex. I then introduce the conflict presented to gene-centric evolution by social phenomena such as altruism and caste sterility in eusocial insects. I review gene-centric models of inclusive fitness and kin selection proposed by Hamilton and Maynard Smith. Based their assumptions, that …

Contributors
Jacobson, Neal Bradley, Gadau, Juergen, Laubichler, Manfred, et al.
Created Date
2012

Well-established model systems exist in four out of the seven major classes of vertebrates. These include the mouse, chicken, frog and zebrafish. Noticeably missing from this list is a reptilian model organism for comparative studies between the vertebrates and for studies of biological processes unique to reptiles. To help fill in this gap the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, is being adapted as a model organism. Despite the recent release of the complete genomic sequence of the A. carolinensis, the lizard lacks some resources to aid researchers in their studies. Particularly, the lack of transcriptomic resources for lizard has made …

Contributors
Eckalbar, Walter, Kusumi, Kenro, Huentelman, Matthew, et al.
Created Date
2012

One of the fundamental questions in molecular biology is how genes and the control of their expression give rise to so many diverse phenotypes in nature. The mRNA molecule plays a key role in this process as it directs the spatial and temporal expression of genetic information contained in the DNA molecule to precisely instruct biological processes in living organisms. The region located between the STOP codon and the poly(A)-tail of the mature mRNA, known as the 3′Untranslated Region (3′UTR), is a key modulator of these activities. It contains numerous sequence elements that are targeted by trans-acting factors that dose …

Contributors
Blazie, Stephen, Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Josh, et al.
Created Date
2016

Patients who attend genetic counseling appointments report high anxiety and varied satisfaction levels following their appointments. It has been suggested in previous literature that some of the increase in anxiety and reduction in satisfaction is caused by lack of prior information. Here, I investigated whether providing patients with a glossary of genetic terms prior to their counseling appointment improves patient satisfaction and reduces anxiety in an oncology genetic counseling appointment. I surveyed 96 patients attending their first genetic counseling appointment at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and analyzed 92 patients for which I had complete data. Patients were randomly selected …

Contributors
Peon, Lidia Maria, Wilson Sayres, Melissa A, Buetow, Kenneth H, et al.
Created Date
2018

Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT) is a rare and highly aggressive ovarian cancer that affects children and young women at a mean age of 24 years. Most SCCOHT patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage and do not respond to chemotherapy. As a result, more than 75% of patients succumb to their disease within 1-2 years. To provide insights into the biological, diagnostic, and therapeutic vulnerabilities of this deadly cancer, a comprehensive characterization of 22 SCCOHT cases and 2 SCCOHT cell lines using microarray and next-generation sequencing technologies was performed. Following histological examination, tumor DNA and …

Contributors
Ramos, Pilar, Anderson, Karen, Trent, Jeffrey, et al.
Created Date
2014

In species with highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the degradation of one of the sex chromosomes can result in unequal gene expression between the sexes (e.g., between XX females and XY males) and between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes. Dosage compensation is a process whereby genes on the sex chromosomes achieve equal gene expression which prevents deleterious side effects from having too much or too little expression of genes on sex chromsomes. The green anole is part of a group of species that recently underwent an adaptive radiation. The green anole has XX/XY sex determination, but the content of the …

Contributors
Rupp, Shawn Michael, Wilson Sayres, Melissa A, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2016

How a colony regulates the division of labor to forage for nutritional resources while accommodating for changes in colony demography is a fundamental question in the sociobiology of social insects. In honey bee, Apis mellifera, brood composition impacts the division of labor, but it is unknown if colonies adjust the allocation of foragers to carbohydrate and protein resources based on changes in the age demography of larvae and the pheromones they produce. Young and old larvae produce pheromones that differ in composition and volatility. In turn, nurses differentially provision larvae, feeding developing young worker larvae a surplus diet that is …

Contributors
Traynor, Kirsten Shoshanna, Page, Robert E, Hölldobler, Berthold, et al.
Created Date
2014

Recombinases are powerful tools for genome engineering and synthetic biology, however recombinases are limited by a lack of user-programmability and often require complex directed-evolution experiments to retarget specificity. Conversely, CRISPR systems have extreme versatility yet can induce off-target mutations and karyotypic destabilization. To address these constraints we developed an RNA-guided recombinase protein by fusing a hyperactive mutant resolvase from transposon TN3 to catalytically inactive Cas9. We validated recombinase-Cas9 (rCas9) function in model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a chromosomally integrated fluorescent reporter. Moreover, we demonstrated cooperative targeting by CRISPR RNAs at spacings of 22 or 40bps is necessary for directing recombination. …

Contributors
Standage-Beier, Kylie S, Wang, Xiao, Brafman, David A, et al.
Created Date
2018

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, diagnosed late in the disease by a series of motor deficits that manifest over years or decades. It is characterized by degeneration of mid-brain dopaminergic neurons with a high prevalence of dementia associated with the spread of pathology to cortical regions. Patients exhibiting symptoms have already undergone significant neuronal loss without chance for recovery. Analysis of disease specific changes in gene expression directly from human patients can uncover invaluable clues about a still unknown etiology, the potential of which grows exponentially as additional gene regulatory measures are questioned. Epigenetic mechanisms are emerging …

Contributors
Henderson, Adrienne Rose, Huentelman, Matthew J, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2019

Drosophila CORL (dCORL) is a central nervous system (CNS)-specific gene that is hypothesized to function in Transforming Growth Factor β signaling. It is part of the Corl multigene family that includes mouse and human homologs. dCORL is necessary for Ecdysone Receptor isoform B1 (EcR-B1) protein expression in the mushroom body, a brain region responsible for learning and memory. Beyond this, dCORL function is unknown. As dCORL expression is restricted to the CNS, co-expression experiments were performed to identify dCORL-specific neurons. In these experiments, EcR-B1 protein expression was compared to dCORL mRNA expression revealing that they are not expressed in the …

Contributors
Tran, Nancy Lan, Newfeld, Stuart J, Capco, David G, et al.
Created Date
2018

Here I document the breadth of the CAP (Cysteine-RIch Secretory Proteins (CRISP), Antigen 5 (Ag5), and the Pathogenesis-Related 1 (PR)) protein superfamily and trace some of the major events in the evolution of this family with particular focus on vertebrate CRISP proteins. Specifically, I sought to study the origin of these CAP subfamilies using both amino acid sequence data and gene structure data, more precisely the positions of exon/intron borders within their genes. Counter to current scientific understanding, I find that the wide variety of CAP subfamilies present in mammals, where they were originally discovered and characterized, have distinct homologues …

Contributors
Abraham, Anup, Chandler, Douglas E., Buetow, Kenneth H., et al.
Created Date
2016

The current study examined the unique influence of emotional childhood abuse on positive and negative aspects of different types of social relationships (e.g., family, spouse/partner, and friends) in midlife and whether genetic variations of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) moderated these associations. Genetic variations in OXTR are measured by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which have been the most substantially studied prospects for explaining individual differences in socio-behavioral phenotypes. Specifically, an SNP, rs53576, involving a guanine (G) to adenine (A) substitution located in the third intron of the OXTR has been associated with fundamental aspects of social processes and behaviors. Compared to …

Contributors
Ebbert, Ashley Marie, Infurna, Frank, Corbin, William, et al.
Created Date
2018

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an intriguing approach for neurological disease modeling, because neural lineage-specific cell types that retain the donors' complex genetics can be established in vitro. The statistical power of these iPSC-based models, however, is dependent on accurate diagnoses of the somatic cell donors; unfortunately, many neurodegenerative diseases are commonly misdiagnosed in live human subjects. Postmortem histopathological examination of a donor's brain, combined with premortem clinical criteria, is often the most robust approach to correctly classify an individual as a disease-specific case or unaffected control. We describe the establishment of primary dermal fibroblasts cells lines from 28 …

Contributors
Hjelm, Brooke Erika, Craig, David W., Wilson-Rawls, Norma J., et al.
Created Date
2013

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), despite over a century of research, does not have a clearly defined pathogenesis for the sporadic form that makes up the majority of disease incidence. A variety of correlative risk factors have been identified, including the three isoforms of apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a cholesterol transport protein in the central nervous system. ApoE ε3 is the wild-type variant with no effect on risk. ApoE ε2, the protective and most rare variant, reduces risk of developing AD by 40%. ApoE ε4, the risk variant, increases risk by 3.2-fold and 14.9-fold for heterozygous and homozygous representation respectively. Study of these …

Contributors
Lakers, Mary Frances, Brafman, David, Haynes, Karmella, et al.
Created Date
2017

Proper cell growth and differentiation requires the integration of multiple signaling pathways that are maintained by various post-translational modifications. Many proteins in signal transduction pathways are conserved between humans and model organisms. My dissertation characterizes four previously unknown manners of regulation in the Drosophila Decapentaplegic (Dpp) pathway, a pathway within TGF-beta family. First, I present data that the Dpp signal transducer, Mothers Against Dpp (Mad), is phosphorylated by Zeste-white 3 (Zw3), a kinase involved in the Wingless pathway. This phosphorylation event occurs independently of canonical phosphorylation of Mad by the Dpp receptor. Using ectopic expression of different alleles of Mad, …

Contributors
Quijano, Janine Clare, Newfeld, Stuart J, Goldstein, Elliott, et al.
Created Date
2014

This study examined whether early adversity at 30-months moderated the heritability of common and individual components of EF at 8 years. It was hypothesized that early adversity would not moderate the common EF factor, but instead moderate individual EF components. The sample included 208 twin pairs from the Arizona Twin Project. Early Adversity, assessed at 30 months of age, included Parenting Daily Hassles, low perceived MOS social support, punitive punishment (Parental Responses to Child Misbehavior), home chaos (Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale), CES-D maternal depression, and low maternal emotional availability. EF at 8 years included the Eriksen Flanker Task, Continuous …

Contributors
Rea-Sandin, Gianna, Lemery-Chalfant, Kathryn, Elam, Kit, et al.
Created Date
2018

Understanding how interpersonal relationships, such as parenting and sibling relationships, may contribute to early sleep development is important, as early sleep dysregulation has been shown to impact later sleep behavior (Sadeh & Anders, 1993), as well as cognitive and behavioral functioning (Gregory et al., 2006; Soffer-Dudek et al., 2011). In addition, twin studies provide an optimal opportunity to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to parenting, sibling relationships and child sleep, as they are influenced by both genetic and contextual factors. As such, the current thesis examined whether parental punitive discipline and sibling conflict were associated with child sleep duration, dysregulation …

Contributors
Breitenstein, Reagan Styles, Doane, Leah D, Lemery, Kathryn, et al.
Created Date
2015

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and a variety of other comorbid physiological and psychological characteristics, including a deficit of positive affect. Recently, the focus of research on the pathophysiology of FM has considered the role of a number of genomic variants. In the current manuscript, case-control analyses did not support the hypothesis that FM patients would differ from other chronic pain groups in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) genotype. However, evidence is provided in support of the hypothesis that functional single nucleotide polymorphisms on the COMT and OPRM1 genes would be associated …

Contributors
Finan, Patrick Hamilton, Zautra, Alex, Davis, Mary, et al.
Created Date
2011

Intervertebral Disc Degeneration (IVDD) is a complex phenomenon characterizing the desiccation and structural compromise of the primary joint in the human spine. The intervertebral disc (IVD) serves to connect vertebral bodies, cushion shock, and allow for flexion and extension of the vertebral column. Often presenting in the 4th or 5th decades of life as low back pain, this disease was originally believed to be the result of natural “wear and tear” coupled with repetitive mechanical insult, and as such most studies focus on patients between 40 and 50 years of age. Research over the past two decades, however, has demonstrated …

Contributors
Fulton, Travis, Liebig, Juergen, Neisewander, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2016

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a severe motor speech disorder that is difficult to diagnose as there is currently no gold-standard measurement to differentiate between CAS and other speech disorders. In the present study, we investigate underlying biomarkers associated with CAS in addition to enhanced phenotyping through behavioral testing. Cortical electrophysiological measures were utilized to investigate differences in neural activation in response to native and non-native vowel contrasts between children with CAS and typically developing peers. Genetic analysis included full exome sequencing of a child with CAS and his unaffected parents in order to uncover underlying genetic variation that …

Contributors
Vose, Caitlin, Peter, Beate, Liu, Li, et al.
Created Date
2018