Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

Abstract

The hard tick species, Dermacentor andersoni, is an important vector of zoonotic disease in the state of Montana. The purpose of this study was to compare different fragments of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene to determine which provides the most useful information for the genetic analysis of D. andersoni ticks in Montana. Two primer sets were used to PCR amplify a portion of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene from DNA obtained from 40 D. andersoni ticks from a single population near Helena, Montana. Resulting sequences from PCR products were then analyzed for quality, amount of genetic variability and suitability for use in future population genetic studies. The primer set 16S+1 and D16S5 was found to produce high quality sequences of the 16S rDNA gene that are genetically variable and adequate for preliminary studies of the genetic structure of tick populations as part of the Infectious Disease Ecology project at Carroll College. This study demonstrates the PCR amplification, sequencing and analytic techniques that can be utilized to characterize the genetic diversity in tick populations in the future.

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