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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: Biology
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Improving Processing Efficiency for Forensic DNA Samples

Improving Processing Efficiency for Forensic DNA Samples

Date: May 2015
Creator: Connon, Catherine Cupples
Description: The goal of this project was to reduce processing time for forensic DNA testing without incurring significant added costs and/or the need for new instrumentation, while still generating high quality profiles. This was accomplished by: 1) extraction normalization using the ChargeSwitch® Forensic DNA Purification Kit such that a small range of DNA concentrations was consistently obtained, eliminating the need for sample quantification and dilution; 2) developing fast PCR protocols for STR primer sets using shorter amplification methods, low volume reactions and non-fast thermal cyclers; and 3) developing a quicker 3130xl Genetic Analyzer detection method using an alternative polymer/array length combination. Extraction normalization was achieved through a reduction in bead quantity, thereby forcing an increase in bead binding efficiency. Four products (AmpliTaq Gold® Fast PCR Master Mix, KAPA2G™ Fast Multiplex PCR Kit, SpeedSTAR™ HS DNA Polymerase and Type-it Microsatellite PCR Kit) were evaluated for low volume (3μl) fast PCR on a 384-well Veriti® thermal cycler with the Identifiler primer set. KAPA2G™ was selected for 3μl fast PCR protocols using PowerPlex 16 HS and Identifiler Plus primer sets (42-51min), as well as 5μl and 6μl Identifiler fast reactions on a 9700 thermal cycler (51-60min). Alternative detection (POP-6™/22cm) achieved 24-28min run times, but ...
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The Impact of Developmental Stress on Cardiovascular Physiology of Two Archosaur Species: American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) and Domestic Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

The Impact of Developmental Stress on Cardiovascular Physiology of Two Archosaur Species: American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) and Domestic Chicken (Gallus Gallus)

Date: December 2014
Creator: Tate, Kevin B.
Description: Crocodilians and birds comprise sister taxa of archosaurs, the development of these vertebrates occurs within an egg case that leaves developing embryos susceptible to fluctuations in the nesting environment. Studies suggest that sub-optimal conditions alter morphological growth and cardiovascular physiology. Regulation of the cardiovascular system is immature in the subjects studied, and embryos may rely on humoral rather than neural control of the cardiovascular system. The primary focus of this dissertation was to assess regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintenance of arterial pressure and heart rate. Dehydration stress had marked effects on embryo growth, and altered baseline cardiovascular parameters, while leaving the response to humoral regulator, angiotensin II (Ang II), unaffected. However, dehydrated alligator embryos developed cholinergic tone on heart rate. Hypoxic incubated chicken embryos were reduced in embryo mass, and altered response to humoral regulatory components Ang I and adenosine in addition identifying a novel regulatory component of the cardiovascular response to acute hypoxia. Collectively, these studies add to the existing knowledge of cardiovascular physiology in embryonic archosaurs and suggest that some components of cardiovascular regulation are plastic following developmental stress.
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The Effects of Inbreeding on Fitness Traits in the Critically Endangered Attwater’s Prairie-chicken

The Effects of Inbreeding on Fitness Traits in the Critically Endangered Attwater’s Prairie-chicken

Date: August 2014
Creator: The effects of inbreeding on fitness traits in the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken.
Description: The goals of captive breeding programs for endangered species include preserving genetic diversity and avoiding inbreeding. Typically this is accomplished by minimizing population mean kinship; however, this approach becomes less effective when errors in the pedigree exist and may result in inbreeding depression, or reduced survival. Here, both pedigree- and DNA-based methods were used to assess inbreeding depression in the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri). Less variation in the pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients and parental relatedness values were observed compared to DNA-based measures suggesting that errors exist in the pedigree. Further, chicks identified with high parental DNA-based relatedness exhibited decreased survival at both 14- and 50-days post-hatch. A similar pattern was observed in later life stages (> 50 days post-hatch) with birds released to the wild; however, the pattern varied depending on the time post-release. While DNA-based inbreeding coefficient was positively correlated with mortality to one month post-release, an opposite pattern was observed at nine months suggesting purging of deleterious alleles. I also investigated whether immunocompetence, or the ability to produce a normal immune response, was correlated with survival; however, no significant correlation was observed suggesting that inbreeding was a more important factor influencing survival. Pairing individuals for breeding ...
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Biodiversity of Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of the South-Central Nearctic and Adjacent Neotropical Biotic Provinces

Biodiversity of Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of the South-Central Nearctic and Adjacent Neotropical Biotic Provinces

Date: May 1999
Creator: Abbott, John C.
Description: The south-central United States serves as an important biogeographical link and dispersal corridor between Nearctic and Neotropical elements of western hemisphere odonate faunas. Its species are reasonably well known because of substantial collections, but there has been no concerted effort to document the extent of biodiversity and possible geographic affinities of dragonflies and damselflies of this region. The recent discoveries of Argia leonorae Garrison, Gomphus gonzalezi Dunkle and Erpetogomphus heterodon Garrison from southern and western Texas and northern Mexico suggest that Odonata species remain to be discovered in this area, particularly from far south Texas and northern Mexico. I have documented a total of 12,515 records of Odonata found in 408 counties within the south-central U.S. A total of 73 species of damselflies and 160 species of dragonflies was revealed in the region. The 233 (197 in Texas) Odonata species are distributed among 10 families and 66 genera. Illustrated family, generic, and species-level keys are provided. Since the beginning of this work in the Fall of 1993, one species has been added each to the Louisiana and Oklahoma faunas, and 12 species have been added, previously unreported from Texas, including four new to the U.S. The area of highest Odonata ...
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Isolation and Characterization of a New Capsule-Forming Bacterium

Isolation and Characterization of a New Capsule-Forming Bacterium

Date: May 1999
Creator: Thongmee, Acharawan
Description: A unique, previously undescribed Gram-negative bacterium was isolated from several soils in Texas and extensively characterized in this study. The cells measured 1-2 by 4-6 μm. The distinguishing characteristic of the bacterium is the extraordinary capsular material which surrounds the cells. The new isolates are aerobic, mesophilic, non motile and have the ability to utilize a variety of organic compounds as the sole source of carbon and energy. The organism grows optimally at 30° C and the optimal pH lies between 7.0-8.0. The isolates produce catalase but oxidase is not produced. They do not produce indole or hydrogen sulfide. The organism can hydrolyze gelatin and Tween 80 but not starch, esculin and casein. The major cellular fatty acid is anteiso 15:0. The guanine and cytosine content is 58-62 mole%. The organism's taxonomic position was further established by specific gene probes, 16S rRNA homology, DNA homology and "ribotyping." These data showed that it was most closely related to members of the genus Paenibacillus, although somewhat divergent from other species classified in this genus. After careful evaluation of the results obtained during this study, it is proposed that this unique bacterium be named Paenibacillus velasolus sp. nov.
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Biogeographic Relationships of Pocket Gophers (Geomys breviceps and Geomys bursarius) in the Southeastern Portion of Their Ranges

Biogeographic Relationships of Pocket Gophers (Geomys breviceps and Geomys bursarius) in the Southeastern Portion of Their Ranges

Date: August 1998
Creator: Elrod, Douglas Allen
Description: This research utilized population genetic analyses (protein starch-gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing of the cytochrome b mtDNA gene), host-parasite specificity (lice coevolution), remote sensing of satellite data, and geographic information systems (GIS) to characterize newly discovered populations of pocket gophers (genus: Geomys) in Arkansas. These populations are isolated and occur in seemingly unsuitable habitat in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Analyses of electrophoretic and ectoparasite data suggested the populations in the Ozark Mountains represented isolates allied to Geomys bursarius, a species not known to occur in Arkansas. Comparison of mitochondrial DNA sequence data of the cytochrome b gene with that of other taxa and morphometric analyses confirmed that these populations are most closely allied to G. bursarius occurring to the north in Missouri. Moreover, these mtDNA sequence analyses indicated a degree of differentiation typical of that between other subspecies of pocket gophers. Therefore, these populations represent a distinct genetic entity in an intermediate stage of speciation and should be designated as a new subspecies, Geomys bursarius ozarkensis. Molecular clock analysis revealed a time of lineage divergence for this new subspecies as approximately 511,000 YBP. Due to the isolated nature and limited distribution of this subspecies, an evaluation of critical habitat ...
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Dalbergia and Albizia: Plantlet Production via Tissue Culture, Karyological Evaluation, and Seed Anatomy with Scanning Electron Microscopy

Dalbergia and Albizia: Plantlet Production via Tissue Culture, Karyological Evaluation, and Seed Anatomy with Scanning Electron Microscopy

Date: December 1998
Creator: Ghosh, Nabarun
Description: A publication by the National Academy of Sciences, USA (1979) outlined some of the research need for a great variety of economically important woody species whose remaining genetic resources need urgently to be collected and conserved. A viable regeneration system was established via tissue and cell suspension culture for Albizia falcataria and A. lebbeck, two important wood yielding leguminous tree species. The culture medium was standardized after several trials to obtain callus from the leaflet explants of these two tree species. The optimum use of casein hydrolysate (w/v) and coconut milk (v/v) in addition to 6-Benzylaminopurine and Indole-3-butyric acid could induce morphogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in the cultured tissue. This reports the first observation on somatic embryogenesis ofA. lebbeck using leaflets as the explants. Scanning Electron Microscopy and histological studies were done on the different stages plant development following standard techniques. Embryogenesis in suspension culture followed regeneration of plantlets in A. lebbeck. In A.falcaaria the regenerative process followed via organogenesis from the shoot buds developed on the leaf explants. After hardening the regenerated plants were transferred to the greenhouse. Some of the trees grew more than 25 feet tall within a few months outside the greenhouse. Karyotype of the three ...
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Remote Sensing of Landscape-Level Ecological Attributes at Ray Roberts Lake in North Texas

Remote Sensing of Landscape-Level Ecological Attributes at Ray Roberts Lake in North Texas

Date: December 1997
Creator: Smith, David P. (David Paul), 1956-
Description: Biological diversity is a key component in assessing ecosystem health. Alteration, degradation and loss of habitat due to human influence is currently the primary stressor resulting in decreases in diversity. Reliable assessment of large areas in terms of biological integrity are needed for conservation and preservation efforts. Remotely sensed data provide an integrated view of reflected electromagnetic energy over large areas of the earth. These energy patterns provide unique spectral signatures which can be correlated to land cover and habitat. This research sought relationships between traditional ecological measures and information gathered from satellite digital imagery. Reliable interpretation of earth surface characteristics relies largely on accurate rectification to a map projection and subsequent thematic classification. Use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for rectification was superior than digitizing topographical maps. Differentially corrected GPS locations provided optimum rectification with SPOT satellite imagery while marginally better rectifications were obtained for Landsat MSS imagery using uncorrected GPS positions. SPOT imagery provided more accurate land cover classifications than did MSS. Detection of temporal land cover change using MSS imagery was hampered by confusion among intermediate successional classes. Confusion between upland and bottomland forest classes occurred with both SPOT and MSS. Landscape analyses using thematic maps ...
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Relationships of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure with Land-use, Habitat, In-stream Water Chemistry, Depositional Sediment Biofilm Fatty Acids, and Surfactants in the Effluent Dominated Texas Trinity River

Relationships of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Community Structure with Land-use, Habitat, In-stream Water Chemistry, Depositional Sediment Biofilm Fatty Acids, and Surfactants in the Effluent Dominated Texas Trinity River

Date: December 2013
Creator: Slye, Jaime L.
Description: The Trinity River is an urbanized, effluent-dominated river, and is heavily relied upon for drinking water. The benthic macroinvertebrate community has been monitored for over 20 years, with the focus of this dissertation on three studies (1987-88, 2005, and 2011). Water quality improvement following dechlorination resulted in increased benthic metrics. Overall habitat quality, in-stream cover, surface water total organic carbon, sediment total organic carbon, near-field urban land-use, near-field forested land-use, surface water surfactant toxic units, and depositional sediment biofilm fatty acids all have statistically significant relationships with benthic macroinvertebrate metrics. These relationships are better defined with increased taxonomic resolution at the genus/species level for all benthic taxa, including Chironomidae and Oligochaeta. It is recommend that benthic identifications for state and city water quality assessments be done at the genus/species level. A novel method for quantifying depositional sediment biofilm fatty acids has been produced and tested in this dissertation. Benthic metrics are directly related to fatty acid profiles, with several essential fatty acids found only at upstream sites.
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Field and Laboratory Fish Tissue Accumulation of Carbamazepine and Amiodarone

Field and Laboratory Fish Tissue Accumulation of Carbamazepine and Amiodarone

Date: December 2013
Creator: García Martínez, Santos Noé
Description: The goals of this dissertation work were to assess the bioaccumulation potential of carbamazepine and amiodarone, two widely used ionizable pharmaceutical compounds that possess mid-range and high LogD values, respectively, and to evaluate alternative methods to assess chemical accumulation in bluntnose minnows, catfish, and tilapia. Results indicated that carbamazepine does not appreciably bioaccumulate in fish tissue with BCFk and BAF carbamazepine values < 10. Amiodarone, however, with a log D of 5.87 at pH 7.4, accumulated in fish tissues with kinetic BCF values <2,400. Collectively, the data suggest that full and abbreviated laboratory-derived BCFs, BCFMs derived from S9 loss-of-parent assays, as well as field BAF values are similar for each of the two drugs. In summary, the results from this dissertation indicated: 1) The reduced design BCF test is a good estimate for the traditional OECD 305 test. 2) In vitro S9 metabolism assays provide comparable BCF estimates to the OECD 305 test. 3) Metabolism may play a large role in the accumulation of drugs in fish. 4) Reduced BCF tests and in vitro assays are cost effective and can reduce vertebrate testing.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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