Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Susan M. Bush

Second Advisor

Lisa-Anne A. Foster

Third Advisor

Robert J. Fleming and Claire T. Fournier


The gene CDT1 was first discovered in the crabgrass Digitaria cilaris to confer cadmium tolerance. Five homologs of this gene exist in rice (Oryza sativa), one of which, OsCDT3, was found to confer aluminum tolerance, instead of cadmium tolerance. The homolog of this gene in Arabidopsis thaliana (AtCDT1), is currently under study. Arabidopsis plants carrying a T-DNA insertion mutation in this gene were found to overexpress AtCDT1 in response to cadmium, but not to aluminum, suggesting that AtCDT1 is cadmium responsive, not aluminum responsive. This research study aims to learn more about the AtCDT1 gene and its potential involvement in tolerance to aluminum toxicity. The current study proposes a reporter construct to show where in the plant and when during development the AtCDT1 gene is expressed in Arabidopsis, with predictions that it is expressed in the cell membrane of cells in the roots, and throughout development of the Arabidopsis plant. Preliminary CRISPR constructs were designed to be used in further research to design a knockout line of Arabidopsis for the AtCDT1 gene, to determine its potential function in tolerance to only aluminum, only cadmium, both, or neither of these metals.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Biology.