CUP Undergraduate Research

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts & Sciences


Math & Science


When irradiated with UV light, adjacent pyrimidine bases undergo a photochemical reaction to form cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD)3. Although this damage is often repaired, CPDs can cause issues with DNA replication and transcription, and are believed to be one of the major sources of carcinogenic mutations created through DNA replication2. Although CPDs can be formed between any two pyrimidine bases, the most common dimers formed are between two thymine molecules. Previous studies have shown success in the creation of thymine dimers by irradiating frozen thymine solution with UV light4, however techniques of analysis vary. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) is an effective method to easily separate and analyze organic compounds in a short amount of time, however thymine is not volatile enough to be used in GCMS on its own1. Because of this, thymine needs to go through derivatization in order to increase its volatility. In this study, we aim to determine a simple and cost-effective method for synthesizing and analyzing thymine dimers within an educational lab setting, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry as our technique of analysis, and isobutyl chloroformate (IBCF) as our agent of derivatization.

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