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Title: Brachypodium distachyon genomics for sustainable food and fuel production

item BEVAN, MICHAEL - John Innes Center
item Garvin, David
item Vogel, John

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/9/2010
Publication Date: 4/1/2010
Citation: Bevan, M.W., Garvin, D.F., Vogel, J.P. 2010. Brachypodium distachyon genomics for sustainable food and fuel production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 21:211-217.

Interpretive Summary: Brachypodium distachyon is an annual grass that posses physical attributes (small size, rapid generation time, small genome size, diploidy) that make it easy to work with in large numbers in controlled laboratory settings. In recent years, several key resources have been developed that allow Brachypodium to be used as a modern model organism. This review article describes these resources including: the whole genome sequence, efficient transformation, and other genomic resources.

Technical Abstract: Grasses are a vital source of food for humanity and are projected to be become an important source of renewable fuel. To provide food, feed and fuel for an ever expanding human population it will be necessary to improve existing grass crops (e.g. wheat, maize, rice) and domesticate perennial grasses proposed as energy crops (e.g. switchgrass and Miscanthus). A deeper understanding of the biology underlying traits determining the utility of grasses as crops would greatly accelerate these efforts. The use of a model system is an efficient way to gain this insight. Brachypodium distachyon has emerged as such a model system. In this review we outline the characteristics and resources that make Brachypodium an attractive model system for the grasses. These include biological attributes (rapid lifecycle, small size, small genome, self fertility, etc.) and genomic resources developed by the research community (whole genome sequence, efficient transformation, etc.).