Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Terry

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Persans

Third Advisor

Dr. Megan Keniry


Opsins are part of the superfamily of G-coupled receptor proteins and together with chromophores, are responsible for initiating the signal transduction cascade responsible for animal vision. Since opsins have a critical role on visual perception these genes are crucial for a myriad of adaptive traits and behaviors and should show diverse signs of natural selection at the molecular level. Understanding the evolution of opsins across the wide diversity of insect groups will allow us to better understand the evolutionary pressure on insect opsins and serve as a model for both other gene systems and other taxonomic groups of animals that are more difficult to study.

Our goal was to expand our sampling of insect opsins and then use these new data to explore and better understand patterns of evolution and diversity of these crucial genes. Moreover, we performed a spatial localization of opsin expression in the compound eye of a species of praying mantis native to the Rio Grande Valley, Bistanta mexicana.


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