Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Museum specimens are a vital data source for many types of studies. One relatively new use includes studying methylation patterns. Methylation patterns are a form of epigenetics or how gene expression changes without alteration of the genetic code. These patterns have been examined in many mammals. However, the focus has previously been on overall epigenetic patterns. Few studies have investigated whether methylation patterns differ across tissue types, time, or preservation method. In this study, I compared methylation patterns in muscle, liver, toe pads, and nasal bones from Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mouse) museum specimens collected in 2022, 2018, 2014, and 2008 using reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing. I found methylation patterns were most similar within an individual and there was little to no clustering of methylation patterns based on tissue type or collection year. Additionally, tissue preservation in ethanol had no effect on methylation patterns. This study illuminates the role of tissue type and preservation method in methylation patterns of P. leucopus and thereby provides an important resource for researchers seeking to study DNA methylation in museum specimens.


Dr. Lorelei Patrick

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type



© 2023 Loryn M. Smith


For questions contact