Start Date: Jun 01, 2010
End Date: May 30, 2013
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.