Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Clifford F Weil

Committee Member 1

Brian P Dilkes

Committee Member 2

Mitchell R Tuinstra

Committee Member 3

Robert E Pruitt


Understanding how the size and shape of crop plants and their specific organs are genetically controlled may allow for the development of cultivars with improved plant architecture. A microtubule-severing enzyme called katanin p60 is encoded by KATANIN1 (KTN1) in Arabidopsis or by an ortholog, dwarf and gladius leaf1 (dgl1), in rice. Katanin p60 has been implicated in the control of anisotropic cell growth, which is cell growth directed in a specific direction instead of equally in all directions. Anisotropic cell growth is crucial for proper plant shape and its disruption in ktn1/dgl1 mutants leads to morphological changes such as stunted plant height, shorter leaves and reduced inflorescence size.