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Genome Size Diversity and Evolution in the Crustacea

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Title: Genome Size Diversity and Evolution in the Crustacea
Author: Jeffery, Nicholas
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Gregory, T. Ryan
Abstract: The study of genome size, also known as the C-value in diploid organisms, began in the late 1940’s and has become increasingly efficient and prevalent in the current world of molecular biology and whole-genome sequencing. As of the start of this thesis, genome size estimates were available for a mere 318 crustaceans, representing less than 1% of the known species diversity (and certainly a much smaller fraction of the true species diversity). Even with this limited sample size, some patterns began to emerge when comparing genome size to various biological and ecological parameters within the Crustacea. This thesis first reviews the genome size literature, then develops methodologies for estimating genome size specifically in crustaceans using two common methods and different preservation techniques. I also undertook a large genome size survey of 401 species of Crustacea and how this relates to their overall life history, including body size, developmental mode, climate and habitat, and overall diversity. Finally I take an in-depth look at genome size diversity in the amphipod genus Hyalella from both North and South America, and investigate how genome size may have contributed to lineage proliferation within these groups. This study more than doubles the number of crustacean genome size estimates generated over the past 60 years, and will help shed light on the C-value enigma, which aims to determine why genome size is so variable among organisms.
Date: 2015-09
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