Date of Award
Master of Science
Ethiopia is a country rich in termite diversity, yet little is known about the taxonomy of the Ethiopian termite species and their populations genetic structure. This study explores the diversity of Ethiopian termite species using barcoding and phylogenetic analyses of thirty-six termite samples from three of the most termite-diverse regions in the country (Southern, Central, and Western Ethiopia). The molecular diversity and evolutionary history of these species is examined using the barcode region of cytochrome oxidase I. Additionally, sixteen previously published primer pairs have been shown to successfully cross amplify repeat regions in our Ethiopian termites. The first mitochondrial genomes of the termite species Macrotermes herus and the East African clade of Macrotermes subhyalinus have been assembled and annotated using two genome assembly methods (de novo and reference-guided). The two genomes were used along with all currently published Macrotermes genomes to construct a whole- mitochondrial genome phylogeny for those species. This study identified the African clade of Macrotermes subhyalinus in Southern and Central Ethiopia, Macrotermes jeanneli in Central Ethiopia, and Macrotermes herus in Western Ethiopia. Our phylogenetic analyses using the barcode region of Cytochrome Oxidase I corroborates theories of the evolutionary history of the species based on mound architecture and spatial distribution in Ethiopia.
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