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A laboratory course in experimental genetics for the biology major.

Description: This manual has been designed for a class of twenty- four students concurrently enrolled in the lecture course. The laboratory aids in the learning process and fosters an interest in the science of genetics. This manual and the experiments contained within are both informative and fun. The manual correlates with and expands upon the genetics course. Each investigation, with the exception of the Drosophila melanogaster project, can be completed in a 3-4 hour timeframe. This manual provides a “hands on” experience of theories simply discussed in the lecture course. This manual is intended to be a one-source manual where each investigation is designed to include an adequate introduction. Special attention has been given for each investigation with both the student and instructor in mind.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Lux, Melissa McNeil

Life History and Case Building Behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus (Banks) (Trichoptera: Calamoceratidae) In Two Spring Fed Tributaries in the Central Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas

Description: The life history and case-making behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus from two springfed first order streams in the Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas were studied from January 1998 to November 1999. Field larval, pupal and adult samples and laboratory rearings indicated a multivoltine cycle. First instars differ from late instars in number of labral setae and in having a unique spur-like claw on each lateral hump. Larval development was asynchronous with second through fifth instars and pupae present most months. First instars were present April through July, October and November. Case making of first instar and case reconstruction of later instars extracted from their cases was documented by videophotography.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Norwood, James Christopher

Macroinvertebrate Community Structure as an Indicator of Watershed Health in the Upper Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas

Description: This study describes macroinvertebrate community structure and assesses its potential in detecting point and non-point sources of disturbance associated with rural and urban areas in the Upper Trinity River Basin. Geospatial techniques were used to quantify landuse within the watershed in a GIS. At rural sites near the headwaters of the Trinity River, collector-gathering burrowers that are adapted to minimal flow comprised the majority of taxa. Destinies of taxa compositions at downstream sites increased and shifted toward psammophilic and rheophilic invertebrates, including primarily collector-filtering clingers, that are characteristic of shifting sand habitats in large prairie rivers. Benthic community structure generally benefited from point source impacts including wastewater treatment plant effluents that maintained higher flow. Community indices were negatively associated with forest landuse and positively associated with urban landuse. Partial CCA determined that flow and landuse contributed equally to species dispersions. Comparisons with historical biomonitoring studies in upper Trinity River Basin indicate improved watershed health.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Stephenson, Jaynie M.

A morphological study of the avian (Gallus domesticus) ductus arteriosi during hatching.

Description: The ductus arteriosi (DA) are two blood vessels connecting the pulmonary arteries to the descending aorta in the avian embryo. Following hatching, the DA closes, separation of the systemic and pulmonary circulation. I present the morphological changes that occur in the chicken DA during prepipping, internal pipping, external pipping, and hatching. The avian DA consists of two distinct tissue types, a proximal and a distal portion. Histological examination shows developmental differences between the proximal and distal portions of the DA with regard to lumen occlusion, endothelial cells, smooth muscle and elastin. Endothelial cell proliferation begins to occur as early as external pipping, with the lumen almost completely occluded by the 3rd day of post-hatching life. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) increases in avian endothelial cells during hatching. I provide a morphological timeline of changes in the DA as the chicken develops from embryo to hatchling.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Belanger, Candace

A Multimedia Atlas of Dissection for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates

Description: Traditional methods of teaching the laboratory course for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates could be improved by applying current computer technology to construct an interactive, multimedial atlas of dissection. Five specimens used in comparative anatomy courses at most institutions were chosen as representative members of the Phylum Chordata: amphioxus, lamprey, dogfish shark, mud puppy, and cat. Specimens were dissected according to the modified method of Wischnitzer, 1993, and each stage was photographed with a Kodak DC120 digital zoom camera. These images were processed on a Power Macintosh 7600 computer with Adobe Photoshop v. 5.0. The atlas was constructed from these images using Macromedia Authorware v. 4.0.3. Each image contains a series of interactive objects that display a highlight and descriptive text as the cursor passes over each object.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Curran, Anthony A.

A Novel Phytoestrogen that Acts as an Agonist for Human Estrogen Receptors.

Description: Estrogen is the natural agonist of the estrogen receptor (ER). However, certain plant-derived compounds or phytoestrogens have been identified that mimic estrogens and act as agonists and/or antagonists of ERs, depending on subtype and target tissue. Understanding how phytoestrogens interact with ERs, and therefore effect the estrogenic response, may prove beneficial in hormone replacement therapy and in the prevention and treatment of hormone-related diseases. Using Thin Layer Chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and proton nuclear nagnetic resonance (HNMR), I identified 4-ethoxymethylphenol (4EM) found in Maclura pomifera. While most phytoestrogens are heterocyclic compounds, 4EM is a simple phenol that acts as an agonist of ER-alpha and -beta in HeLa and MCF-7 cells. To study the effect of 4EM on ER-alpha and -beta activity, I performed transient transfection assays and showed that 4EM activates ER dependent gene transcription in a dose dependent manner in both ER subtypes. Further, 4EM- mediated transcription in ER-alpha, like estrogen, was enhance in the presense of co-activators, SRC-1 (steroid receptor coactivator-1), CBP (CREB binding proteins), and E6-AP (E6-associated protein) and inhibited by trans-4- hydroxytamoxifen (4HT). I found that 4EM was specific for ER and did not activate transcription of the progesterone receptor in HeLa cells.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Pearce, Virginia

A Physiological Age-Grading System for Female Hydrellia pakistanae Deonier (Diptera: Ephydridae)

Description: Conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of H. pakistanae as a biological control agent for hydrilla prompt researchers to find a method for assessing the fly's success. Developing a physiological age-grading system for the fly using ovarian morphology to detect changes in reproductive activity is useful for evaluating reproductive status of the fly in field populations. Changes in the appearance of follicular relics in ovaries with oviposition provide a reliable method to estimate fecundity. Characteristics of follicular relics were used to develop a system with eight physiological age classes, three nulliparous and five parous. Changes that occur in the fat body were used to assist in classification of nulliparous females or those with low egg counts.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Lenz, Jennifer Marie

Primary Cilia in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage

Description: oligodendrocytes migrate from the corpus callosum into the overlying cortex. The incidence of cilia did not change markedly across age groups, and did not vary consistently with the number of processes per cell, which was used as an indication of the maturation stage of OPCs and young OLs. The mean percent of Olig1 immunopositive (Olig1+) cells having cilia across ages was 33.1% + 16.5%, with all ages combined. In O4+ cells of these mice, 56.7 + 3.6% had primary cilia. If it is the case that adult OLs do not have cilia, the point in the lineage when primary cilia are lost is still unknown. Adult mice that had been injected with cyclopamine to block cilia-dependent Shh signaling were examined to determine whether the rate of generating new OPCs was influenced. In the CC of control mice, the numerical density of Olig1+/BrdU+ cells was 1.29 + 0.07/mm2 was reduced to 0.68 + 0.38/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group, and the numerical density of all BrdU+ cells (including both Olig1+ and Olig1- cells) of 4.55 + 1.50/mm2 in the control group was reduced to 3.14 + 1.27/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group. However, there were only 2 mice in each group and the differences were not statistically significant.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Hao, Yung-Chia

Production and Characterization of a Novel Extracellular Polysaccharide Produced by Paenibacillus velaei, Sp. Nov

Description: Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov. is a soil bacterium capable of producing an unusually large amount of exopolysaccharide (EPS). The EPS contains glucose, mannose, galactose and fucose in a molar ratio of 4:2:1:1. The molecular weight of the EPS is higher than 2x106. The viscosity of 1% EPS is 1300 cP when measured at a shear rate of 1 sec-1. Physiological parameters for optimal production of the EPS were studied and it was found that 1.4 g dry weight per 1 l of medium was produced when the bacteria were grown at 30EC and the pH adjusted at 7± 0.2 in a medium containing glucose as the carbon source. Growing the bacteria on different carbon sources did not alter the quantity or the composition of the EPS produced. No toxicity effects were observed in mice or rats when EPS was administered in amounts ranging from 20 to 200 mg per kg body weight. The data obtained from physical, chemical and biological properties suggest that the EPS may be employed in several industrial and environmental applications. It is an excellent emulsifier, it holds 100 times its own weight in water, it is not toxic, and it can be used to remove mercury, cadmium and lead from aqueous solutions.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Sukplang, Patamaporn

Pyrimidine Enzyme Specific Activity at Four Different Phases of Growth in Minimal and Rich Media, and Concomitant Virulence Factors Evaluation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative rod, aerobic, non-fermenting, oxidase positive, pigment producing, and nutritionally versatile bacterium. Infections by P. aeruginosa are the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, given virulence factor production that suppresses antibiotic therapy and promotes persistent infection. This research is the first comprehensive report of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway for all phases of growth in minimal and rich media coupled with the evaluation of virulence factor production of P. aeruginosa in comparison to four other bacterial species (Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Burkholderia cepacia, and Escherichia coli wild-type strains). Cellular growth and passing genetic information to the next generation depend on the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, the precursors of DNA and RNA. The pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway is essential and found in most organisms, with the exception of a few parasites that depend upon the pyrimidine salvage pathway for growth. Both the pyrimidine biosynthetic and salvage enzymes are targets for chemotherapeutic agents. In our laboratory, research on pyrimidine auxotrophic mutants showed the role of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and its intermediates on P. aeruginosa metabolism and impaired virulence factors production. The present research shows that pyrimidine enzymes are active in all phases of growth, including the production of two forms of ATCase in the late log phase in P. aeruginosa. This finding may be explained by the displacement of the inactive PyrC' by the active PyrC or PyrC2 to form a new and larger pyrBC encoded ATCase. Pseudomonas aeruginosa wild-type appears to produce by far the most virulence factors, haemolysin, iron chelation, rhamnolipid, adherence, and three types of motility (swimming, swarming, and twitching) investigated in this study, when compared to the other four wild-type strains. Growth analysis was carried out as typically done in minimal medium but also in rich medium to simulate conditions ...
Date: December 2005
Creator: Azad, Kamran Nikkhah

Submerged wood inhabiting macoinvertebrates of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, Texas: Assemblage analyses, comparisons to the benthic fauna, and a study of Cyrnellus fraternus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae)

Description: Taxonomic composition and spatio-temporal variability of macroinvertebrates inhabiting snags were examined from an 8-km segment of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Seventy-seven macroinvertebrate taxa were collected from submerged wood during the study. Assemblages were highly variable spatially and temporally, especially among seasons. An ordination of species and environment did not find snag taxa to have striking correlations with many of the selected environmental variables, although there were some trends in flow-mediated species distributions. There were significant seasonal differences in the abundances of some taxa, particularly among the Chironomidae (Diptera). The Tribe Orthocladiini was numerically abundant during the winter, while the Tribes Chironomini and Tanytarsini dominated the summer and autumn. Additionally, this study included a secondary production and microdistribution analysis of a population of the caddisfly Cyrnellus fraternus. Distributions of C. fraternus were restricted to snags, the most stable substratum for retreat building and for resisting periodic high waters. Larvae were not found in the soft sand and mud benthic habitats near submerged wood. The insects were multivoltine with a minimum of three generations per year. Pupae were collected July through September and adults emerged from May through October. The population overwintered as larvae. Estimated annual production was 1,015.4 mg/m2/yr. Mean standing stock biomass was 61.24 mg/m2, the cohort production/biomass ratio was 4.59, and the annual production/biomass rate was 16.58/yr for this population. Standing stock biomass ranged from 1.6 to 349.1 mg/m2 during the year and was significantly higher in autumn and summer than winter. Larvae were more abundant in the lower portions of the study area where flow was reduced for much of the year, than in the upper reaches, characterized by higher current velocities. C. fraternus larvae were found in their highest numbers on snags with dense deposits of silt and sand.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Johnson, Zane B.

Understanding Microbial Biodegradation of Environmental Contaminants

Description: The accumulation of industrial contaminants in the natural environments have rapidly become a serious threat for human and animal life. Fortunately, there are microorganisms capable of degrading or transforming environmental contaminants. The present dissertation work aimed to understand the genomic basis of microbial degradation and resistance. The focus was the genomic study of the following bacteria: a) Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764, a unique bacterium with specific enzymes that allow cyanide adaptation features. Potential cyanide degradation mechanisms found in this strain included nit1C cluster, and CNO complex. Potential cyanide tolerance genes found included cyanide insensitive oxidases, nitric oxide producing gene, and iron metabolism genes. b) Cupriavidus sp. strain SK-3 and strain SK-4. The genome of both bacteria presented the bph operon for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) degradation, but we found differences in the sequences of the genes. Those differences might indicate their preferences for different PCB substrates. c) Arsenic resistant bacterial communities observed in the Atacama Desert. Specific bacteria were found to thrive depending on the arsenic concentration. Examples were Bacteroidetes and Spirochaetes phyla whose proportions increased in the river with high arsenic concentrations. Also, DNA repair and replication metabolic functions seem to be necessary for resistance to arsenic contaminated environments. Our research give us insights on how bacteria communities, not just individually, can adapt and become resistant to the contaminants. The present dissertation work showed specific genes and mechanisms for degradation and resistance of contaminants that could contribute to develop new bioremediation strategies.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Vilo Muñoz, Claudia Andrea

Use of Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Technologies to Describe Mosquito Population Dynamics in the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, Denton County, Texas

Description: A population survey was conducted from April through September 2002 on mosquito species occurring on the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, a riparian corridor used for public recreation on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, in Denton County, Texas. ArcGIS software was used to set up a stratified random sampling design based on habitat parameters. Multivariate analyses of sampling data and climatic variables were used to describe spatial and temporal patterns of mosquito species. A total of 33 species were collected during this study belonging to the following genera: Aedes, Anopheles, Coquillettidia, Culex, Mansonia, Ochlerotatus, Orthopodomyia, Psorophora, Toxorhynchites, and Uranotaenia. Seasonal distributions of the dominant species revealed population fluctuations. Aedes vexans was the primary species collected in April and May, occurring in low numbers throughout the rest of the sampling period. Psorophora columbiae reached its highest population density in June, with a smaller peak occurring in late July. Present from May through the end of September, Culex erraticus was the most abundant species collected with major peaks in mid-June and the end of July. Abundance of Culex salinarius followed the same general trend as that for Cx. erraticus, but with smaller numbers. The specimens were tested for a variety of arboviruses by the Texas Department of Health. One pool of Cx. erraticus and Cx. salinarius, collected in August 2002, tested positive for West Nile virus. Variables that were important factors for determining dominant species abundance were temperature, wind speed, rain accumulation occurring one-week and two-weeks prior to sampling, number of day since last rain event, dew point, and average canopy coverage.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Bolling, Bethany G.

Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS to Model Brood-Rearing Habitat for Rio Grande Wild Turkey Populations Occurring in the Western Cross Timbers Region of Texas

Description: Remote sensing and GIS have become standard tools for evaluating spatial components of wildlife habitats. These techniques were implemented to evaluate Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) poult-rearing habitat in the Western Cross Timbers region of Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) random roving turkey counts for 1987-1989 and 1998-2000 were selected, indicating locations where hens with poults were observed. Satellite imagery from 1988 and 1999 was classified and then processed with Patch Analyst. To add robustness, stream, road and census population densities were also evaluated for each turkey location. Analysis of the 1988 canopy cover image, comparing observed locations with randomly-selected habitat cells (N = 20) indicated significant differences (p <.05) for patch edge variables. Mean patch edge was significantly greater for habitat locations where hens with poults were observed than for those selected at random. Spatial data for 1999 did not indicate a significant difference (p < .05) between sampling groups (observed vs. random, N = 30). Significant differences (p <.05) did occur for turkey locations observed in both 1988 and 1999 (N = 7). This demonstrates the adaptability of wild turkey hens, as habitats change over time, hens continued to visit the same locations even though the habitat had significantly changed for select spatial variables.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Miller, Christopher J.

Utilization of Corridor Habitat by White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Denton County, Texas

Description: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (N=15) movements were determined with use of radio telemetry techniques to determine the utilization of corridor habitat on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor (RRGC) in north central Texas. Home ranges were calculated using three estimation types. Male white-tailed deer tend to have home ranges twice that of female home ranges. Seasonal home ranges were largest during spring (Feb. - April) and fall (Aug. - Oct.) seasons. Males had greater seasonal variation in utilization than females. No statistically significant difference (p=0.24) between white-tailed deer locations when the RRGC experiences heavy human traffic compared to days when there is light human traffic. Linearity indices indicated home ranges less linear than expected (LI = 3.02). The RRGC should be maintained at its current status to provide a variety of vegetational types and protective cover for white-tailed deer and other wildlife of Denton County.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Bruce, Troy Kenneth

Women Have Higher Skin Temperature on the Back during Treadmill Exercise in a Hot, Humid Environment

Description: A common measurement of body temperature during exercise in a hot, humid environment is mean skin temperature collected from 3-12 sites on the body. However, such an approach fails to demonstrate localized differences in skin temperature that are likely to exist as a function of gender. The purpose of this study was to examine potential differences in skin temperature between men and women at 17 different locations on the body. Young women (21 ± 1 y; n = 11) and men (23 ± 3; n = 10) were recruited to complete a 60-min walk/jog interval protocol in a hot (34 ± 1 °C), humid (64 ± 8%) environment while skin temperature was measured. Data was analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA (p < 0.05) and location of interaction effects determined using a Fisher’s least squares difference test. We observed a higher change (p < 0.05) from baseline skin temperatures (ΔTsk) for women in three locations: left upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.12 ± 0.20 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.70 ± 0.10 °C), right upper back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.19 ± 0.07 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk = 2.92 ± 0.05 °C), and right mid-back (women: avg. ΔTsk = 4.62 ± 0.14 °C; men: avg. ΔTsk =3.55 ± 0.09 °C). Individual time differences between genders occurred after 7- (left upper back) and 15-min (right upper back, right mid-back) of exercise and were maintained until the end of exercise. Women have a greater increase in skin temperature at three locations on the back following the onset of exercise in a hot, humid environment. This report provides important information regarding the implications of women exercising in a hot, humid environment.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Venable, Adam Steven