Crop Biotech Update

Scientific Team Profiles Model Grass

December 18, 2013

Keiichi Mochida and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan have constructed a comprehensive collection of all the DNA sequences in the Brachypodium genome transcribed into protein-coding messenger RNA (mRNA). This resource, known as a complementary DNA (cDNA) library, should help plant biologists to create more robust crops for food and biofuel production.

Purple false brome, Brachypodium distachyon, is a grass species known to have great potential as a model plant for research due to its short generation time, small size, small genome and ease of breeding. These features make the grass species an attractive stand-in for less tractable but agriculturally important crops such as wheat and barley. Mochida said "Brachypodium distachyon is a model plant for analyzing the genetic functions and biological systems in temperate grasses, cool-season cereals and dedicated biofuel crops."

The researchers integrated this information with sequence data available from other economically important grass species in a public resource called the RIKEN Brachypodium FLcDNA database (RBFLDB). The results of their study can be read in the journal PLOS One (dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075265).