Discipline: Biological Sciences
Villisha Gregoire - University of the Virgin Islands
Co-Author(s): Alice Stanford, Danelly Samuel, Semonie Rogers, and Hema Balkaran, University of the Virgin Islands, St.Thomas USVI
Velvety free-tailed bats (Molossus molossus) are distributed throughout Central and South America and islands of the Caribbean. Molossus molossus are regarded as an insectivorous species, which occupy human habitats and aid in reducing insect populations in ecosystems. Understanding the genetic diversity of the bats will aid in their possible conservation and restoration. The overall objective of this study is to evaluate the genetic diversity of M. molossus between populations two US Virgin Islands, these being St. Thomas and St. John. The aim of our project was to evaluate the success of the primers on the bats’ DNA samples. Tissue samples and primers were collected and tested for DNA extraction and gene amplification of specific micro-satellites. The DNA concentrations of the extracts were determined by the use of a spectrometer. To unveil which primers work best with the DNA extract, various conditions such as DNA concentrations, annealing temperatures and different primers were manipulated for the amplification of the DNA. The primers which depicted the most amplification were H12, A10 and D15. Linear regression graphs were established to decipher whether there was a correlation between any of the aforesaid conditions and the primers. The relationship between the concentration of the DNA in relation to the work strength of the primers had an R2 value 0.0214; while that of the purity of DNA in relation to the work strength of the primers R2 value was 0.1359 and thirdly, the relationship between the purity of nucleic acid in relation to work strength had an R2 value of 0.059. These relationships having such low R2 values concluded that the work strength or amplification success of the PCR could not be predicted by the DNA concentration, DNA purity, and the nucleic acid purity of the extraction. Statistical testing will be done in the future to determine the genetic diversity of the M. molossus on St. Thomas and St. John.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research was funded by the NSF HBCU-UP Grant #1137472, S STEM Grant, and BP Consulting. I am grateful to NSF for their funding, Ms. Hema Balkaran, the author of the thesis, Dr. Stanford my mentor, Danelly Samuel and Semonie Rogers who worked along with me in the lab, and Dr. Platenberg and her group for their assistance in sample collection.
Faculty Advisor: Alice Stanford,