Different mutations in the sqt-1 gene of C. elegans can lengthen, shorten, or helically twist the entire animal. We have cloned the sqt-1 gene and have shown that it encodes a collagen. sqt-1 was localized to a 35 kb region of DNA by physical mapping of chromosomal deficiencies. A transposon (Tc1)-induced mutation of sqt-1 was generated and utilized to identify the sqt-1 gene within this 35 kb region. Sequence analysis of the sqt-1 gene shows that it encodes a 32 kd collagen polypeptide that is similar in size and structure to other members of the C. elegans collagen family. The Tc1 insertion mutant has no detectable sqt-1 transcripts, yet it is morphologically normal, indicating that the null phenotype of sqt-1 is wild type. These results demonstrate that collagen mutations can have dramatic effects on organismal morphology.