Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Nina Goodey

Committee Member

Kirsten Monsen

Committee Member

Mark Whitener

Committee Member

Ulrich Gubler


Global amphibian populations have been declining since the late 20th century; one of the most significant contributors to these declines is a genus of viral pathogens known as Ranavirus (Rv). Frog virus 3 is one of these viral agents and is currently found affecting frog populations throughout NJ, MD, PA, DE, and VA. While Frog virus 3 is most known for afflicting frogs, the Ranavirus genus can also infect bony fish species as well as reptiles, allowing for a wide vector of transmission and making its spread a danger both locally and globally. In the absence of a cure, it is imperative to be able to detect and monitor the virus in both the wild and commercial sectors, but current testing methods require extensive training, expensive equipment, and are time consuming. To deal with these issues and develop a rapid field test that provides real time results, I have used a DNA aptamer discovery technique to generate short single-stranded DNA sequences that specifically bind to the viral major capsid protein (MCP) of frog virus 3. This technique, known as SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment), is a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based process that narrows a large library of random DNA sequences into a smaller library of targeted sequences. Through the use of SELEX and the subsequent sequencing of the resulting aptamers, I have enriched aptamers for binding to Rv MCP. Such aptamers will be evaluated using electrophoretic mobility shift assays to assess their binding affinity to MCP, to find aptamers for use in the proposed rapid field tests, as well as identify sequence patterns necessary to bind to the viral protein.

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