Organogenesis in plants occurs at the shoot apical meristem, a group of indeterminate stem cells that are organized during embryogenesis. Regulated initiation of leaves or flowers from the shoot meristem gives rise to the familiar geometric patterns observed throughout the plant kingdom. The mechanism by which these patterns, termed phyllotaxies, are generated, remains unclear. Maize plants initiate leaves singly, alternating from one side to the other in a regular pattern. Here we describe a recessive maize mutant, abphyl1, that initiates leaves in opposite pairs, in a pattern termed decussate phyllotaxy. The decussate shoot meristems are larger than normal throughout development, though the general structure and organization of the meristem is not altered. abph1 mutants are first distinguished during embryogenesis, prior to true leaf initiation, by a larger shoot meristem and coincident larger expression domain of the homeobox gene knotted1. Therefore, the abph1 gene regulates morphogenesis in the embryo, and plays a role in determining the phyllotaxy of the shoot.

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