Presenter Information

Joshua FranzenFollow

Advisor Information

James Wilson, Jessica Petersen

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

26-3-2021 12:00 AM

Abstract

Mutations in the MC1R gene is associated with melanism, or black fur, and the presence of a 24 base pair deletion in the MC1R gene of fox and gray squirrels suggests a shared ancestry between the two species. This could be due to a mutation in a common ancestor or previous mating between species. Evidence has shown that the most likely cause for the presence of MC1R in both species is previous mating between species. If this did occur, then it is possible that other genes traveled between species along with the mutated MC1R gene. Conserved genes shared between species since the time of gene transfer are typically important for the fitness of the animals and can be identified. We isolated DNA from the tissue of 4 fox squirrels and 3 gray squirrels and sent this isolated DNA for sequencing of the whole genome. We then aligned the resulting sequences to a reference gray squirrel genome, calculated average difference within 50,000 base pair regions, and plotted these differences. Regions where the similarity between the species was greater than expected were analyzed using BLAST against a well mapped referenced genome. Sequence regions were also compared between sample sequences to generate a phylogenetic tree and deduce the origin of the genes in these regions. The findings from this research can identify genes that are important to the fitness of these squirrels and increase understanding of the effect that natural selection has on the genes of fox and gray squirrels.

Comments

I have a lab from 1:00-4:20 on that I cannot miss. I have a class discussion and a weekly lab meeting between 11:00 and 1:00 that I can miss, but would prefer not to.

COinS
 
Mar 26th, 12:00 AM Mar 26th, 12:00 AM

Comparison of gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) in order to explore genes that confer a fitness advantage

Mutations in the MC1R gene is associated with melanism, or black fur, and the presence of a 24 base pair deletion in the MC1R gene of fox and gray squirrels suggests a shared ancestry between the two species. This could be due to a mutation in a common ancestor or previous mating between species. Evidence has shown that the most likely cause for the presence of MC1R in both species is previous mating between species. If this did occur, then it is possible that other genes traveled between species along with the mutated MC1R gene. Conserved genes shared between species since the time of gene transfer are typically important for the fitness of the animals and can be identified. We isolated DNA from the tissue of 4 fox squirrels and 3 gray squirrels and sent this isolated DNA for sequencing of the whole genome. We then aligned the resulting sequences to a reference gray squirrel genome, calculated average difference within 50,000 base pair regions, and plotted these differences. Regions where the similarity between the species was greater than expected were analyzed using BLAST against a well mapped referenced genome. Sequence regions were also compared between sample sequences to generate a phylogenetic tree and deduce the origin of the genes in these regions. The findings from this research can identify genes that are important to the fitness of these squirrels and increase understanding of the effect that natural selection has on the genes of fox and gray squirrels.