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2015 Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community... has ended
Wednesday, April 22 • 11:05am - 11:25am
Molecular species determination of an unknown snake in the pituophis genus

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Molecular genetic techniques have been implemented to differentiate between two morphologically similar species of snake, the pine snake (Pituophis melanolecus) and a congeneric gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer). The genetic identity of a display snake specimen is currently being debated by staff at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, NC. Total genomic DNA was extracted from snakeskin, and the ND4 mitochondrial DNA region was amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The PCR product was confirmed using gel electrophoresis, sequenced, and compared to known mtDNA sequences of the congeners. Because both potential candidates contain multiple subspecies with convergent morphologies, the ability to distinguish between closely related species of Pituophis could provide a substantial molecular basis to support taxonomic claims.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 11:05am - 11:25am
014 Zeis Hall

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