Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

David Kass

Second Advisor

Marianne Laporte

Abstract

The retroviral-like transposable element mys has been identified in a limited group of new-world rodents, providing a unique opportunity to assess its evolutionary origin and activity within various rodent genomes. In the course of this investigation we identified an element that appears to represent a distinct, but related, group of elements in the Mexican volcano mouse that we refer to as mys-like. We have determined the presence of this mys-like element in related species of rodents, suggesting that it likely dates back to a common ancestor of the Reithrodontomyini rodent tribe. The mys-like element predates the previously identified mys element and presumably gave rise to mys. Continued molecular investigations will provide insights into the evolutionary origin and history of transposable elements and their potential impacts on the mammalian genome.

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