Gianna-Rose DiDonato ‘21
Major: Biology
Minor: Psychology

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Andrey Grigoriev, Professor of Biology, and Mr. James Kelley, Graduate Assistant for the Department of Biology 



This study of genomes comparing brown bears and black bears helps to identify different genotypic and phenotypic difference amongst these two bears. We identified a number of structural variants, insertions and deletions in the DNA sequences of the two species. Different mutations were found causing phenotypic variations and abnormalities. Throughout the study, we analyzed and these mutations in relation to possible phenotypic variations and abnormalities and the known effects of mutations in affected genes were annotated. These abnormalities can affect different parts of the body including body size, fur color, limbs, and internal anomalies such as the immune system being affected or certain gene mutations causing higher susceptibility to specific diseases. Although polar bears and brown bears are similar, they are facing different environmental changes and adaptations. Some mutations were found to be advantageous to arctic conditions in comparison to temperate conditions. With these mutations known, the similarities, differences and overall evolution of these species can be better understood.


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