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New Phytol. 2011 Jul;191(2):334-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03748.x. Epub 2011 May 31.

Exploiting the Brachypodium Tool Box in cereal and grass research.

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  • 1Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK. lum@aber.ac.uk


It is now a decade since Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) was suggested as a model species for temperate grasses and cereals. Since then transformation protocols, large expressed sequence tag (EST) databases, tools for forward and reverse genetic screens, highly refined cytogenetic probes, germplasm collections and, recently, a complete genome sequence have been generated. In this review, we will describe the current status of the Brachypodium Tool Box and how it is beginning to be applied to study a range of biological traits. Further, as genomic analysis of larger cereals and forage grasses genomes are becoming easier, we will re-evaluate Brachypodium as a model species. We suggest that there remains an urgent need to employ reverse genetic and functional genomic approaches to identify the functionality of key genetic elements, which could be employed subsequently in plant breeding programmes; and a requirement for a Pooideae reference genome to aid assembling large pooid genomes. Brachypodium is an ideal system for functional genomic studies, because of its easy growth requirements, small physical stature, and rapid life cycle, coupled with the resources offered by the Brachypodium Tool Box.

© 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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