Location:2011 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.
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 year Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) examined the effect of several parameters of Brachypodium growth and selected growth conditions for the main phenomic studies. Albany researchers identified over 500 individuals homozygous for T-DNA insertions and sent 150 confirmed homozygous lines to CSIRO for phenomic analysis. The project was coordinated through monthly conference calls. In addition, the postdoc working on the project visited CSIRO and several CSIRO personnel visited Albany after attending a conference in San Diego. Progress is on target with project milestones.