Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

Program

Biology

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Katherine Teeter

Second Advisor

Dr. Alec Lindsay

Third Advisor

Dr. John Rebers

Abstract

Epigenetics has been found to have an effect on many aspects of biology. Epigenetics refers to modifications of the double-stranded DNA molecule, which do not change the nucleotide sequence but do affect gene expression. DNA methylation is a type of epigenetic modification. Genomic imprinting is a pattern of gene expression that is primarily achieved through DNA methylation, and it results in the expression of only one allele at a particular locus. In this study, I analyzed the methylation patterns of five imprinted genes in the hybrids of two different lab strains of the house mouse subspecies, M. m. musculus and M. m. domesticus. To detect methylated DNA, bisulfite modification was performed on the genes of the hybrids and parental species. The genes I examined were Mcts2, Nap1l5, Peg10, Zac1, and Zim2. The results were compared between the parental and hybrid samples. Two of the hybrid samples yielded disruption in the methylation patterns within at least two genes. Each of the parental samples showed disruption in the methylation patterns. I next analyzed the expression levels of five imprinted genes. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed on the genes of the hybrids and parental samples. The genes I examined were H19, Nap1l5, Igf2r, Mcts2, and Mest. Differences in the expression levels of each of these genes were observed within the parental and hybrid samples.

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