Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

David Kass

Second Advisor

Kristi Judd

Third Advisor

Marianne Laporte


The Peromyscus genus consists of over 50 recognized species, providing a rare opportunity to study evolutionary mechanisms of mammalian speciation, which is enhanced by phylogenetic analyses. We propose utilizing short interspersed DNA elements (SINEs) to assess the evolutionary history of Peromyscus as these markers provide a "molecular fossil record" since shared genomic integrations of elements correspond to descent from common ancestors. We have identified "young" SINEs from sequences of P. aztecus to advance our study by assessing for the presence of elements at fourteen orthologous loci among twelve species, including three separate P. aztecus individuals, one of which was used to generate a DNA library. Of fourteen SINE-containing loci analyzed, one locus yielded the expected size amplified by PCR for containing the insert in P. aztecus and additional species, supporting the potential of SINEs as phylogenetic markers. However, nine of the loci analyzed were specific to P. aztecus, including two loci specific to only one of the three P. aztecus individuals, consistent with being able to identify young SINEs from a genomic database and suggesting their continued activity and potential role in genome diversity and speciation.

Included in

Biology Commons