Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Computational & Systems Biology)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In plant systems, genetic and biochemical pathways impact uptake of elements from the soil. These environment-sensitive pathways often act in the root tissue to impact element concentrations throughout the plant. In order to characterize element regulation as well as apply ionomics to understand plant adaptation, perspectives are needed from multiple tissues and environments and from approaches that take interactions between elements into account. The work described in this thesis includes multi-environment and multi-tissue experiments that connect variation in genetic sequence, and in gene expression, with variation in element accumulation. The associations found here include those that are sensitive to environment, reflecting the complex environmental influence on the ionome, as well as those that exhibit consistent effects across different environments. A variety of statistical tools were employed to model genetic by environment interactions and test methodologies that can be applied to future studies of the ionome with more in-depth environmental data. Genetic loci with strong effects on elements across environments were further explored using root-based gene expression data, which identified candidate genes and gene networks underlying element accumulation. Additional research on these candidate genes has the potential to improve our understanding of the genetic basis of homeostatic processes that involve the ionome, as well as isolate targets for genetic modification or selective breeding that can enhance nutritional content and adaptive capacity of crops.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ivan Baxter

Committee Members

Barak Cohen, Heather Lawson, Blake Meyers, Kenneth Olsen,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/5ssn-8447

Included in

Biology Commons