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 Department: Department of Biology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Spatially Explicit Modeling of West Nile Virus Risk Using Environmental Data

Spatially Explicit Modeling of West Nile Virus Risk Using Environmental Data

Date: December 2015
Creator: Kala, Abhishek K.
Description: West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging infectious disease that has widespread implications for public health practitioners across the world. Within a few years of its arrival in the United States the virus had spread across the North American continent. This research focuses on the development of a spatially explicit GIS-based predictive epidemiological model based on suitable environmental factors. We examined eleven commonly mapped environmental factors using both ordinary least squares regression (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR). The GWR model was utilized to ascertain the impact of environmental factors on WNV risk patterns without the confounding effects of spatial non-stationarity that exist between place and health. It identifies the important underlying environmental factors related to suitable mosquito habitat conditions to make meaningful and spatially explicit predictions. Our model represents a multi-criteria decision analysis approach to create disease risk maps under data sparse situations. The best fitting model with an adjusted R2 of 0.71 revealed a strong association between WNV infection risk and a subset of environmental risk factors including road density, stream density, and land surface temperature. This research also postulates that understanding the underlying place characteristics and population composition for the occurrence of WNV infection is important for ...
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Impact of a Genetically Engineered Probiotic Therapy and Igf-1 Genomics in the Pahenu2 Mouse Model of Pku

Impact of a Genetically Engineered Probiotic Therapy and Igf-1 Genomics in the Pahenu2 Mouse Model of Pku

Date: December 2015
Creator: Durrer, Katherine Elaine
Description: Absence of functional phenylalanine hydroxylase results in phenylketonuria (PKU). Viable treatments remain few, expensive and secondary conditions such as osteopenia occur in most PKU patients. Objective 1: Given the recently described roles of gut microbes to aid host digestion, an orally administered genetically engineered probiotic as the delivery vehicle for enzyme replacement therapy was created. The engineered probiotic, pHENOMMenal, produced phenylalanine ammonia lyase with significant production of trans-cinnamate (phenylalanine cleavage product) in vitro and resulted in a reduction of 515 μM in blood phenylalanine when fed to PKU animals for 14 days (from 2307µM ± 264µM to 1792µM ± 261µM, n = 6, P < 0.05). The control probiotic produced no change in blood phenylalanine. Thus, pHENOMMenal treatment in PKU mice demonstrated engineered microbes could compensate for a metabolic deficiency of the host. Objective 2: Evaluate the PAHenu2 mouse model of PKU for a genetic discrepancy causing ocular enlargement and delayed development observed only after the PAHenu2 mutation was crossed to the C57BL/6J mouse. When compared to healthy littermates, ELISA indicated a consistent but insignificant decrease in plasma IGF-1 and an increase in ocular IGF-1 in PKU animals. SNP screening demonstrated a differential inheritance of IGF-1 alleles in healthy and ...
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Genetic Analysis of Medicago Truncatula Plants with a Defective Mtire Gene

Genetic Analysis of Medicago Truncatula Plants with a Defective Mtire Gene

Date: August 2015
Creator: Alexis, Naudin
Description: Leguminous plants are able to fix nitrogen by establishing a symbiotic relationship with soil dwelling bacteria, called rhizobia. The model plant Medicago truncatula forms a partnership with Sinorhizobium meliloti whereby the plant gains bioavailable nitrogen and in exchange the bacteria gains carbohydrates. This process occurs within nodules, which are structures produced on the roots of the plants within which nitrogen is fixed. M. truncatula incomplete root elongation (MtIRE) was localized to the infection zone, which is zone II of indeterminate nodules. It was shown to encode a signaling kinase so it was anticipated to play a role in nodulation. Mutants of MtIRE in the R108 background, mutagenized with the Tnt1 retrotransposon, were obtained from reverse screen, and were assessed to determine if a disrupted MtIRE gene was the cause of nitrogen fixation defective nodules. Mutant line NF1320, having a mutant phenotype, showed typical Mendelian segregation of 3:1 when backcrossed to R108. Experimental results show that MtIRE gene is not the cause of the mutant phenotype, but was linked to the causative locus. MtIRE co-segregated with the mutant phenotype 83%. Southern blot and the first version of the M. truncatula genome (version 3.5) reported a single MtIRE gene and this was ...
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Effects of Macrophyte Functional Diversity on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity and Stability of Tropical Floodplain Fish Assemblages

Effects of Macrophyte Functional Diversity on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity and Stability of Tropical Floodplain Fish Assemblages

Date: August 2015
Creator: Treviño, Jessica Marie
Description: Multiple dimensions of biodiversity within and across producer and consumer guilds in the food web affect an ecosystem’s functionality and stability. Tropical and subtropical aquatic ecosystems, which are extremely diverse, have received much less attention than terrestrial ecosystems in regards to the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. We conducted a field experiment that tested for effects of macrophyte functional diversity on diversity and stability of associated fish assemblages in floodplain lakes of the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil. Three levels of macrophyte functional diversity were maintained through time in five floodplain lakes and response variables included various components of fish taxonomic and functional diversity and stability. Components of functional diversity of fish assemblages were quantified using a suite of ecomorphological traits that relate to foraging and habitat use. Response variables primarily distinguished macrophyte treatments from the control. Macrophyte treatments had, on average, double the number of species and total abundance than the control treatment, but only limited effects on stability. The high diversity treatment was essentially nested within the low diversity for assemblage structure and had similar or even slightly lower levels of species richness and abundance in most cases. Gymnotiformes and young-of-year were diverse and relatively abundant in ...
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Investigating the Ability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pyrE Mutants to Grow and Produce Virulence Factors

Investigating the Ability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pyrE Mutants to Grow and Produce Virulence Factors

Date: December 2014
Creator: Niazy, Abdurahman
Description: Pseudomonas aeruginosa are medically important bacteria that are notorious for causing nosocomial infections. To gain more knowledge into understanding how this organism operates, it was decided to explore the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway. Pyrimidine synthesis, being one half of the DNA structure, makes it a very important pathway to the organism’s survivability. With previous studies being done on various genes in the pathway, pyrE has not been studied to the fullest extent. To study the function of pyrE, a site directed mutagenesis was done to completely knock out pyrE, which encodes the protein orotate phosphoribosyl transferase that is responsible for converting orotate into orotate monophosphate (OMP). A mutation in this step leads to accumulation and secretion of orotate into the medium. Analyzing virulence factors produced by the mutant and comparing to the wild type, some intriguing features of the mutant were discovered. One of the findings was the over expression of virulence factors pyoverdin and pyocyanin. Pyocyanin over expression, based on the results of this study, is due to the accumulation of orotate while over production of pyoverdin is due to the accumulation of dihydroorotate. The other virulence factors studied were motility assays, exoproducts, and growth analysis. All virulence factor production ...
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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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Microflora in Prepared Foods Dispensed from Eating Establishments in Dallas, Texas

Microflora in Prepared Foods Dispensed from Eating Establishments in Dallas, Texas

Date: August 1948
Creator: Phillips, Margaret
Description: A bacteriological study was made of a number of prepared foods that were bought ready-to-eat, for home consumption, from several food establishments in Dallas, Texas. The purpose of this study was to show whether these foods could be a potential source of food poisoning; whether there are any particular foods that should have greater care than others in order to protect their quality; and whether the bacteriological contamination could have been prevented by strict observance of the city regulations for handling foods.
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A Study of Selected Factors Influencing Science Majors Toward Science Careers

A Study of Selected Factors Influencing Science Majors Toward Science Careers

Date: August 1957
Creator: Bragg, Louis Hairston
Description: "The purpose of this study is to gather information concerning some factors which may have operated to influence science majors in North Texas State College toward science careers."--4.
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The Effects of Common Electrolytes on Growth and Development of Selected Species of Aquatic Actinomycetes

The Effects of Common Electrolytes on Growth and Development of Selected Species of Aquatic Actinomycetes

Date: August 1959
Creator: Sissom, Stanley L.
Description: The role that aquatic actinomycetes play, in the production of tastes and odors in water supplies has been investigated since 1948. The ability of these organisms to produce by-products in lakes and streams, which renders the water unpalatable, is of considerable public health importance. It is desirable that the waterworks industry has as much information as possible concerning the factors that contribute to the growth of these organisms. Since it appears that the aquatic actinomycetes may be isolated from most fresh-water sources, the problem of diversified environments and nutritional requirements offers an excellent field of investigation. The fresh-waters of the world contain variable quantities of electrolytes that may determine in part the biological activity of these organisms. The unsolved questions in this instance are concerned with the electrolytes present and their quantitative effects on the growth and development of these forms.
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A Study of a Selected Group of Science Related Characteristics of Non-Science Majors

A Study of a Selected Group of Science Related Characteristics of Non-Science Majors

Date: August 1957
Creator: Bearden, Bennie Paul
Description: The purpose of this study is to gather information related to the characteristics of two groups of undergraduate non-science majors; namely, those students who once considered science as a career and subsequently changed to a non-science major and those who have never considered a career in science. It is frequently observed that children in the elementary school have an intense interest in science. One of the principal concerns of this study is how and for what reasons has the interest in science changed between elementary school and college? It is also the purpose of this study to gather information related to the attitudes of these college students toward the science courses they have had in high school and toward their science teachers. In attempting to arrive at an answer, the group who once considered a science career and those who have never considered an occupational choice in a field of science will be compared in the following areas: 1. General information such as sex, age, size of high school attended, rank within their graduating classes, college classification and military experiences. 2. Occupations and hobbies of parents. 3. Experiences which may influence attitudes toward science such as elementary school science, high ...
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