Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Beverly L. Davidson


Genetic dissection of loci important in the control of neurogenesis has improved our understanding of both the evolutionarily conserved and divergent processes in neurodevelopment. These loci include not only protein coding genes [1, 2], but also noncoding RNAs [3-5]. One important family of non-coding RNAs is miRNAs, which control gene expression fundamental in developmental regulation and mature cell maintenance [3, 5-9].

Here, we will first focus our efforts by surveying miRNA regulation in the developing brain. We hypothesize a strong regulatory role of miRNAs during proliferation, cell death, migration and differentiation in the developing mammalian forebrain that has yet to be adequately described in the literature. Second, we will assess miRNA's role in the evolutionary divergence of brain-related gene expression. We hypothesize that a human specific single nucleotide change(s) in the miRNA recognition element of transcription factors 3' untranslated regions contributes to species-specific differences in transcription factor expression and ultimately alters regulatory function.


evolution, microRNA, neurogenesis, transcription factor


xii, 106 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 90-106).


Copyright 2013 Hayley Sarah McLoughlin