Honors College

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Honors Thesis

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DNA analysis is a ubiquitous tool to identify variation within populations. By using microsatellites, highly variable genetic loci distributed throughout the entire nuclear genome, genetic characteristics can be identified in the population. Genetic variation in the black bear, Ursus americanus, was characterized through samples gathered from the Maine population. In total, five loci were characterized for analysis. In order to aid in wildlife forensic cases, I examined genetic variations in black bears. The range of observed heterozygosity for the population sample was 0.729-0.871; the number of alleles per locus ranged from 7 to 15. Sampling the population and determining the frequencies of the alleles can introduce information about the genetic characteristics of the population. The allele frequencies that have been recorded here can be used in cases to determine if two unknown samples are from a single individual, or to determine that samples came from different animals. Analysis of the information can also aid in the knowledge of population structure and genetic diversity within the population. With the characterization of individuals within a family, multiple paternity, a phenomenon seen in several different taxa, can be observed. In this population study, however, multiple paternity was not observed.

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Biology Commons