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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.


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  • Public
Subject
Date Range
2011 2019


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

Multicellular organisms use precise gene regulation, executed throughout development, to build and sustain various cell and tissue types. Post-transcriptional gene regulation is essential for metazoan development and acts on mRNA to determine its localization, stability, and translation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are the principal effectors of post-transcriptional gene regulation and act by targeting the 3'untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of mRNA. MiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that have the potential to regulate hundreds to thousands of genes and are dysregulated in many prevalent human diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cancer. However, the precise contribution …

Contributors
Kotagama, Kasuen Indrajith Bandara, Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2019

Transgenic experiments in Drosophila have proven to be a useful tool aiding in the determination of mammalian protein function. A CNS specific protein, dCORL is a member of the Sno/Ski family. Sno acts as a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling. dCORL is involved in Dpp and dActivin signaling, but the two homologous mCORL protein functions are unknown. Conducting transgenic experiments in the adult wings, and third instar larval brains using mCORL1, mCORL2 and dCORL are used to provide insight into the function of these proteins. These experiments show mCORL1 has a different function from mCORL2 and dCORL when expressed in Drosophila. …

Contributors
Stinchfield, Michael J, Newfeld, Stuart J, Capco, David, et al.
Created Date
2019

Vitellogenin (Vg) is an ancient and highly conserved multifunctional protein. It is primarily known for its role in egg-yolk formation but also serves functions pertaining to immunity, longevity, nutrient storage, and oxidative stress relief. In the honey bee (Apis mellifera), Vg has evolved still further to include important social functions that are critical to the maintenance and proliferation of colonies. Here, Vg is used to synthesize royal jelly, a glandular secretion produced by a subset of the worker caste that is fed to the queen and young larvae and which is essential for caste development and social immunity. Moreover, Vg …

Contributors
Harwood, Gyan, Amdam, Gro V, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2019

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

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

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

A novel clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) tool for simultaneous gene editing and regulation was designed and tested. This study used the CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) endonuclease in complex with a 14-nucleotide (nt) guide RNA (gRNA) to repress a gene of interest using the Krüppel associated box (KRAB) domain, while also performing a separate gene modification using a 20-nt gRNA targeted to a reporter vector. DNA Ligase IV (LIGIV) was chosen as the target for gene repression, given its role in nonhomologous end joining, a common DNA repair process that competes with the more precise homology-directed repair (HDR). …

Contributors
Chapman, Jennifer, Kiani, Samira, Ugarova, Tatiana, et al.
Created Date
2018

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

The ability to tolerate bouts of oxygen deprivation varies tremendously across the animal kingdom. Adult humans from different regions show large variation in tolerance to hypoxia; additionally, it is widely known that neonatal mammals are much more tolerant to anoxia than their adult counterparts, including in humans. Drosophila melanogaster are very anoxia-tolerant relative to mammals, with adults able to survive 12 h of anoxia, and represent a well-suited model for studying anoxia tolerance. Drosophila live in rotting, fermenting media and a result are more likely to experience environmental hypoxia; therefore, they could be expected to be more tolerant of anoxia …

Contributors
Campbell, Jacob B, Harrison, Jon F, Gadau, Juergen, et al.
Created Date
2018

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

Persistent cooperation between unrelated conspecifics rarely occurs in mature eusocial insect societies. In this dissertation, I present evidence of non-kin cooperation in the Nearctic honey ant Myrmecocystus mendax. Using microsatellite markers, I show that mature colonies in the Sierra Ancha Mountain of central Arizona contain multiple unrelated matrilines, an observation that is consistent with primary polygyny. In contrast, similar analyses suggest that colonies in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona are primarily monogynous. These interpretations are consistent with field and laboratory observations. Whereas cooperative colony founding was observed frequently among groups of Sierra Ancha foundresses, founding in the Chiricahua population …

Contributors
Eriksson, Ti, Gadau, Jürgen, Taylor, Jay, et al.
Created Date
2018

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

Although the Caribbean has been continuously inhabited for the last 7,000 years, European contact in the last 500 years dramatically reshaped the cultural and genetic makeup of island populations. Several recent studies have explored the genetic diversity of Caribbean Latinos and have characterized Native American variation present within their genomes. However, the difficulty of obtaining ancient DNA from pre-contact populations and the underrepresentation of non-Latino Caribbean islanders in current research have prevented a complete understanding of genetic variation over time and space in the Caribbean basin. This dissertation uses two approaches to characterize the role of migration and admixture in …

Contributors
Nieves Colon, Maria Alejandra, Stone, Anne C, Pestle, William J, et al.
Created Date
2017

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

Obesity and its underlying insulin resistance are caused by environmental and genetic factors. DNA methylation provides a mechanism by which environmental factors can regulate transcriptional activity. The overall goal of the work herein was to (1) identify alterations in DNA methylation in human skeletal muscle with obesity and its underlying insulin resistance, (2) to determine if these changes in methylation can be altered through weight-loss induced by bariatric surgery, and (3) to identify DNA methylation biomarkers in whole blood that can be used as a surrogate for skeletal muscle. Assessment of DNA methylation was performed on human skeletal muscle and …

Contributors
Day, Samantha Elaine, Coletta, Dawn K., Katsanos, Christos, et al.
Created Date
2017

The current study utilized data from two longitudinal samples to test mechanisms in the relation between a polygenic risk score indexing serotonin functioning and alcohol use in adolescence. Specifically, this study tested whether individuals with lower levels of serotonin functioning as indexed by a polygenic risk score were vulnerable to poorer self-regulation, and whether poorer self-regulation subsequently predicted the divergent outcomes of depressive symptoms and aggressive/antisocial behaviors. This study then examined whether depressive symptoms and aggressive/antisocial behaviors conferred risk for later alcohol use in adolescence, and whether polygenic risk and effortful control had direct effects on alcohol use that were …

Contributors
Wang, Frances Lynn, Chassin, Laurie, Eisenberg, Nancy, et al.
Created Date
2017

Within the primate lineage, skeletal traits that contribute to inter-specific anatomical variation and enable varied niche occupations and forms of locomotion are often described as the result of environmental adaptations. However, skeletal phenotypes are more accurately defined as complex traits, and environmental, genetic, and epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation which regulates gene expression, all contribute to these phenotypes. Nevertheless, skeletal complexity in relation to epigenetic variation has not been assessed across the primate order. In order to gain a complete understanding of the evolution of skeletal phenotypes across primates, it is necessary to study skeletal epigenetics in primates. This …

Contributors
Housman, Genevieve, Stone, Anne, Quillen, Ellen, et al.
Created Date
2017

Leprosy and tuberculosis are age-old diseases that have tormented mankind and left behind a legacy of fear, mutilation, and social stigmatization. Today, leprosy is considered a Neglected Tropical Disease due to its high prevalence in developing countries, while tuberculosis is highly endemic in developing countries and rapidly re-emerging in several developed countries. In order to eradicate these diseases effectively, it is necessary to understand how they first originated in humans and whether they are prevalent in nonhuman hosts which can serve as a source of zoonotic transmission. This dissertation uses a phylogenomics approach to elucidate the evolutionary histories of the …

Contributors
Honap, Tanvi Prasad, Stone, Anne C, Rosenberg, Michael S, et al.
Created Date
2017

Plants are a promising upcoming platform for production of vaccine components and other desirable pharmaceutical proteins that can only, at present, be made in living systems. The unique soil microbe Agrobacterium tumefaciens can transfer DNA to plants very efficiently, essentially turning plants into factories capable of producing virtually any gene. While genetically modified bacteria have historically been used for producing useful biopharmaceuticals like human insulin, plants can assemble much more complicated proteins, like human antibodies, that bacterial systems cannot. As plants do not harbor human pathogens, they are also safer alternatives than animal cell cultures. Additionally, plants can be grown …

Contributors
Diamos, Andy G, Mason, Hugh S, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2017

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

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

MicroRNAs are small, non-coding transcripts that post-transcriptionally regulate expression of multiple genes. Recently microRNAs have been linked to the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction. Following genome-wide sequence analyses, microRNA-495 (miR-495) was found to target several genes within the Knowledgebase of Addiction-Related Genes (KARG) database and to be highly expressed in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a pivotal brain region involved in reward and motivation. The central hypothesis of this dissertation is that NAc miR-495 regulates drug abuse-related behavior by targeting several addiction-related genes (ARGs). I tested this hypothesis in two ways: 1) by examining the effects of viral-mediated miR-495 …

Contributors
Bastle, Ryan, Neisewander, Janet, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2016

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that play key roles during metazoan development, and are frequently misregulated in human disease. MiRNAs regulate gene output by targeting degenerate elements primarily in the 3´ untranslated regions of mRNAs. MiRNAs are often deeply conserved, but have undergone drastic expansions in higher metazoans, leading to families of miRNAs with highly similar sequences. The evolutionary advantage of maintaining multiple copies of duplicated miRNAs is not well understood, nor has the distinct functions of miRNA family members been systematically studied. Furthermore, the unbiased and high-throughput discovery of targets remains a major challenge, yet is required to …

Contributors
Wolter, Justin M., Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2016

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

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

The transition from Late Antiquity to Early Medieval Europe (ca. AD 400-900) is often characterized as a period of ethnogenesis for a number of peoples, such as the Franks. Arising during protracted contact with the Roman Empire, the Franks would eventually form an enduring kingdom in Western Europe. However, there is little consensus about the processes by which they formed an ethnic group. This study takes a fresh look at the question of Frankish ethnogenesis by employing a number of theoretical and methodological subdisciplines, including population genetics and ethnogenetic theory. The goals of this work were 1) to validate the …

Contributors
Carver, Charisse, Stojanowski, Christopher M, Scott, Rachel E, et al.
Created Date
2015

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

Rapid advancements in genomic technologies have increased our understanding of rare human disease. Generation of multiple types of biological data including genetic variation from genome or exome, expression from transcriptome, methylation patterns from epigenome, protein complexity from proteome and metabolite information from metabolome is feasible. "Omics" tools provide comprehensive view into biological mechanisms that impact disease trait and risk. In spite of available data types and ability to collect them simultaneously from patients, researchers still rely on their independent analysis. Combining information from multiple biological data can reduce missing information, increase confidence in single data findings, and provide a more …

Contributors
Szelinger, Szabolcs, Craig, David W, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2015

Isolation-by-distance is a specific type of spatial genetic structure that arises when parent-offspring dispersal is limited. Many natural populations exhibit localized dispersal, and as a result, individuals that are geographically near each other will tend to have greater genetic similarity than individuals that are further apart. It is important to identify isolation-by-distance because it can impact the statistical analysis of population samples and it can help us better understand evolutionary dynamics. For this dissertation I investigated several aspects of isolation-by-distance. First, I looked at how the shape of the dispersal distribution affects the observed pattern of isolation-by-distance. If, as theory …

Contributors
Furstenau, Tara Nicole, Cartwright, Reed A, Rosenberg, Michael S, et al.
Created Date
2015

Damage to the central nervous system due to spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, as well as degenerative musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, drastically impact the quality of life. Regeneration of complex structures is quite limited in mammals, though other vertebrates possess this ability. Lizards are the most closely related organism to humans that can regenerate de novo skeletal muscle, hyaline cartilage, spinal cord, vasculature, and skin. Progress in studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of lizard regeneration has previously been limited by a lack of genomic resources. Building on the release of the genome of the green anole, <i>Anolis …

Contributors
Hutchins, Elizabeth, Kusumi, Kenro, Rawls, Jeffrey A., et al.
Created Date
2015

The shape of glucose response and one hour (1-hr) glucose during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) are emerging biomarkers for type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to investigate the utility of these novel biomakers to differentiate type 2 diabetes risk in Latino youth, and (2) to examine the genetic determinants in a Latino population. Data from the ASU Arizona Insulin Registry (AIR) registry and the USC Study of Latino Adolescents at Risk for diabetes project were used to test the cross-sectional and prospective utility of novel biomarkers to identify youth at risk for type …

Contributors
Kim, Joon Young, Shaibi, Gabriel Q, Mandarino, Lawrence J, et al.
Created Date
2015

Studies of ancient pathogens are moving beyond simple confirmatory analysis of diseased bone; bioarchaeologists and ancient geneticists are posing nuanced questions and utilizing novel methods capable of confronting the debates surrounding pathogen origins and evolution, and the relationships between humans and disease in the past. This dissertation examines two ancient human diseases through molecular and bioarchaeological lines of evidence, relying on techniques in paleogenetics and phylogenetics to detect, isolate, sequence and analyze ancient and modern pathogen DNA within an evolutionary framework. Specifically this research addresses outstanding issues regarding a) the evolution, origin and phylogenetic placement of the pathogen causing skeletal …

Contributors
Harkins, Kelly Marie, Buikstra, Jane E, Stone, Anne C, et al.
Created Date
2014

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

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

Malaria is a vector-borne parasitic disease affecting tropical and subtropical regions. Regardless control efforts, malaria incidence is still incredible high with 219 million clinical cases and an estimated 660,000 related deaths (WHO, 2012). In this project, different population genetic approaches were explored to characterize parasite populations. The goal was to create a framework that considered temporal and spatial changes of Plasmodium populations in malaria surveillance. This is critical in a vector borne disease in areas of low transmission where there is not accurate information of when and where a patient was infected. In this study, fragment analysis data and single …

Contributors
Chenet, Stella, Escalante, Ananias A, Clark-Curtiss, Josephine, et al.
Created Date
2014

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

A variety of studies have shown that the tendency toward nicotine dependence has a genetic component. The work described in this thesis addresses three separate questions: i) are there unidentified SNPs in the nicotinic receptors or other genes that contribute to the risk for nicotine dependence; ii) is there evidence of ongoing selection at nicotinic receptor loci; and, iii) since nicotine dependence is unlikely to be the phenotype undergoing selection, is a positive effect on memory or cognition the selected phenotype. I first undertook a genome &ndash;wide association scan of imputed data using samples from the Collaborative Study of the …

Contributors
Sadler, Brooke Erin, Hurtado, Ana Magdalena, Goate, Alison, et al.
Created Date
2014

Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis&rsquo; popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty acids, isoprene, etc. after appropriate genetic modification. Challenges faced for large&ndash;scale growth of modified Synechocystis include abiotic stress, microbial contamination and high processing costs of product and cell material. Research reported in this dissertation contributes to solutions to these challenges. First, abiotic stress was addressed by overexpression of the heat shock protein ClpB1. In contrast to the wild type, the …

Contributors
Gonzalez Esquer, Cesar Raul, Vermaas, Willem, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2013

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

As an evolutionary force, hybridization outcomes include introgression, admixture, speciation, and reproductive isolation. While hybridization has been studied in several primates, the marmoset genus Callithrix is an important, but little studied example of Neotropical hybridization. Varying degrees of reproductive isolation exist between Callithrix species, and hybridization occurs at species borders or regions containing introduced and native species. Interbreeding between Callithrix species carries important implications for biodiversity and genetic integrity within the genus. However, species origins and levels of genetic admixture in marmoset hybrid zones are generally unknown, and few population genetic studies of individual Callithrix species exist. Using the mitochondrial …

Contributors
Malukiewicz, Joanna, Stone, Anne C., Nash, Leanne, et al.
Created Date
2013

ABSTRACT Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and whole exome sequencing (WES) are two comprehensive genomic tests which use next-generation sequencing technology to sequence most of the 3.2 billion base pairs in a human genome (WGS) or many of the estimated 22,000 protein-coding genes in the genome (WES). The promises offered from WGS/WES are: to identify suspected yet unidentified genetic diseases, to characterize the genomic mutations in a tumor to identify targeted therapeutic agents and, to predict future diseases with the hope of promoting disease prevention strategies and/or offering early treatment. Promises notwithstanding, sequencing a human genome presents several interrelated challenges: how …

Contributors
Hunt, Katherine Susan, Hurlbut, J. Benjamin, Robert, Jason S., et al.
Created Date
2013

Vertebrate genomes demonstrate a remarkable range of sizes from 0.3 to 133 gigabase pairs. The proliferation of repeat elements are a major genomic expansion. In particular, long interspersed nuclear elements (LINES) are autonomous retrotransposons that have the ability to "cut and paste" themselves into a host genome through a mechanism called target-primed reverse transcription. LINES have been called "junk DNA," "viral DNA," and "selfish" DNA, and were once thought to be parasitic elements. However, LINES, which diversified before the emergence of many early vertebrates, has strongly shaped the evolution of eukaryotic genomes. This thesis will evaluate LINE abundance, diversity and …

Contributors
May, Catherine Magdeline, Kusumi, Kenro, Gadau, Juergen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Speciation is the fundamental process that has generated the vast diversity of life on earth. The hallmark of speciation is the evolution of barriers to gene flow. These barriers may reduce gene flow either by keeping incipient species from hybridizing at all (pre-zygotic), or by reducing the fitness of hybrids (post-zygotic). To understand the genetic architecture of these barriers and how they evolve, I studied a genus of wasps that exhibits barriers to gene flow that act both pre- and post-zygotically. Nasonia is a genus of four species of parasitoid wasps that can be hybridized in the laboratory. When two …

Contributors
Gibson, Joshua D, Gadau, Jürgen, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2013

The study of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a significant area of interest as these peptides have the potential to be developed into alternative drug therapies to combat microbial pathogens. AMPs represent a class of host-mediated factors that function to prevent microbial infection of their host and serve as a first line of defense. To date, over 1,000 AMPs of various natures have been predicted or experimentally characterized. Their potent bactericidal activities and broad-based target repertoire make them a promising next-generation pharmaceutical therapy to combat bacterial pathogens. It is important to understand the molecular mechanisms, both genetic and …

Contributors
Griffin, Natasha Monette, Shi, Yixin, Clark-Curtiss, Josephine, et al.
Created Date
2013

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

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

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift (FS) peptide or viral peptide are quite attractive for a variety of reasons. FS sequences, from either mistake in RNA processing or in genomic DNA, may lead to generation of neo-peptides that are foreign to the immune system. Viral peptides presumably would originate from exogenous but integrated viral nucleic acid sequences. Both are non-self, therefore lessen concerns about development of autoimmunity. I have developed a bioinformatical approach to identify these …

Contributors
Lee, Hojoon, Johnston, Stephen A, Kumar, Sudhir, et al.
Created Date
2012

Building mathematical models and examining the compatibility of their theoretical predictions with empirical data are important for our understanding of evolution. The rapidly increasing amounts of genomic data on polymorphisms greatly motivate evolutionary biologists to find targets of positive selection. Although intensive mathematical and statistical studies for characterizing signatures of positive selection have been conducted to identify targets of positive selection, relatively little is known about the effects of other evolutionary forces on signatures of positive selection. In this dissertation, I investigate the effects of various evolutionary factors, including purifying selection and population demography, on signatures of positive selection. Specifically, …

Contributors
Maruki, Takahiro, Kim, Yuseob, Taylor, Jesse E, et al.
Created Date
2011

Externalizing behaviors are pervasive, widespread, and disruptive across a multitude of settings and developmental contexts. While the conventional diathesis-stress model typically measures the disordered end of the spectrum, studies that span the range of behavior, from externalizing to competence behaviors, are necessary to see the full picture. To that end, this study examined the additive and nonadditive relations of a dimension of parenting (ranging from warm to rejecting), and variants in dopamine, vasopressin, and neuropeptide-y receptor genes on externalizing/competence in a large sample of predominantly Caucasian twin children in toddlerhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence. Variants within each gene were …

Contributors
O'Brien, Theah Caitlin, Lemery-Chalfant, Kathryn, Eisenberg, Nancy, et al.
Created Date
2011