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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.


Subject
Date Range
2011 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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