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Research Project: Phenomic Analysis of Brachypodium Distachyon


2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objectives if the project are to 1) Assemble a collection of natural accessions and 2,000 homozygous T-DNA lines, 2) Conduct a detailed phenotypic characterization of the collection using a phenomic approach, and 3) Begin detailed characterization of a select group of mutants and natural accessions.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
We will apply a phenomic strategy to identify Brachypodium mutants and natural accessions with variation in traits (e.g. biomass, growth rate, root architecture, cell wall composition, water and nutrient use efficiency) relevant to the development of biomass crops. A key advantage of this approach over traditional single trait screens is that we will identify variation in many traits simultaneously and, due to repeated measurements over time and carefully controlled conditions, we will be able to detect relatively modest phenotypic changes. These types of incremental changes may be particularly useful in the development of biomass crops because there may be fewer unintended consequences that decrease other agronomic qualities than with single gene variation that results in large phenotypic changes. To begin the process of translating the variation observed in Brachypodium into biomass crops, we will initiate studies aimed at identifying the genes responsible for the traits in question. In this context, the T-DNA mutants will be particularly powerful because the genes disrupted by the T-DNA insertion (which we will know ahead of time from flanking sequence) are obvious candidate genes. Documents Grant with CSIRO.

3. Progress Report
The goal of this project is to use high throughput, non-destructive phenotyping (phenomics) to characterize Brachypodium T-DNA mutants and inbred lines. During this first year of the project we established the formal agreements with CSIRO. In turn, CSIRO hired staff and began pilot experiments to learn how to grow Brachypodium under their conditions. At our location, we began to develop methods to identify homozygous T-DNA lines from our existing T-DNA collection. The project was coordinated through monthly conference calls and one of our Australian collaborators visited our site for two weeks. Progress is on target with project milestones.

4. Accomplishments