Date Approved

2014

Date Posted

4-2-2014

Degree Type

Campus Only Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Margaret Hanes

Second Advisor

Hedeel Evans

Third Advisor

Steven Pernecky

Abstract

Understanding the relationships between species is important because it can provide information about where and when species originated. My research aims to uncover genetic similarities and differences between three closely related plant species in the genus Megistostegium from Madagascar, and to identify the genetic mechanisms that structure populations of these species. A total of61 DNA samples were genotyped for six microsatellite markers. From this research, I can conclude that despite the extreme morphological differences between the three species of Megistostegium, they are genetically very similar. I can also conclude that the individuals sampled from this intriguing genus can be partitioned with significance in a variety of ways: by region (3 divisions), by species (3 divisions), by populations (5 divisions), and by species within populations (7 divisions). This work will be valuable to other botanists on Madagascar, because knowledge about this plant group is extremely limited and insight into these plants would provide substantial help in both genomic analysis and phylogenic research.

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