Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kirsten Monsen

Committee Member

Randall FitzGerald

Committee Member

John Gaynor


Sorex hoyi share similar morphologies with various other shrew species, ranging from nose size to tail length, which makes identification between species difficult. Current species identification relies on specific morphological traits (including dentition), however due to hybridization, these techniques may be inaccurate in certain shrews. Dentition also requires lethal sampling of shrews, which would best be avoided to not impact the populations.

To remedy this problem, a procedure for identifying the species using the mitochondrial D-loop sequences of Sorex hoyi, Sorex cinereus, Sorexfumeus, Cryptotis parva. and Blarina brevicauda was designed. This procedure would look for speciesspecific differences in the shrews' mitochondrial D-loop and analyze them to specify the maternal species. As opposed to dentition, the mitochondrial D-loop analysis would be able to identify the maternal parent of a specific shrew despite hybridization and does not require lethal sampling.

With the shrew samples provided by Dr. Randall Fitzgerald from the New Jersey School of Conservation, mitochondrial DNA was extracted from pieces of their tails and the mitochondrial D-loop was amplified. The amplified D-loop fragments were sequenced and analyzed for conservation as well as species-specific sequence differences using Clustal Omega.

Included in

Biology Commons