Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Rhoads, Douglas D

Committee Member/Reader

Durdik, Jeannine M

Committee Member/Second Reader

Zies, Brenda J

Committee Member/Third Reader

Harriss, Edmund O


The Human FOXP3 gene plays a role in immunosuppression, which includes the suppression of the maternal immune system to allow the growth of a semi-foreign fetus inside her uterus. This has lead scientists to hypothesize that FOXP3 gene played a crucial role in the development of viviparous species. FOXP3 is highly conserved across Eutherian mammals, but the degree of conservation in other viviparous species has not been investigated. This study found that FOXP3 orthologs are much less highly conserved in aplacental species and may be more closely related to other members of the FOXP gene family than to the FOXP3 found in mammals. Through the creation of phylogenetic trees, I found that all of the members of the Forkhead Box Protein Family were named correctly, but FOXP3 had the highest degree of substitutions, which may explain its relatively novel function in immunosuppression.