"We are launching Brachypodium with one of the most comprehensive genome annotations of any species, ever," Mockler said. "This is a point that took us a decade or more to reach with other plant species, and that's a reflection of some extraordinary new DNA sequencing technology available at OSU and elsewhere. It gives scientists a chance to move quickly ahead with genetic advances."
Development of new genomic technologies for plants like Brachypodium has been a major focus of scientists at OSU.
"What this work provides is a highly informative roadmap to explore and improve plants of great agricultural value, like wheat," said James Carrington, director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, and a co-author of the study. "The quality of science that can be done with plants like Brachypodium is really exceptional."
Much of the early funding support was from the Department of Energy, Mockler said, which wants to develop better feedstocks for production of cellulosic ethanol essentially, fuel from non-food plant material, as opposed to food crops such as corn. It's widely believed that a grass plant called switchgrass may work well for this, but it's never been domesticated the evolution of switchgrass as a crop is now at the stage that corn, for instance, was about 10,000 years ago, before generations of selective breeding produced improved crops. Genetic modification may be able to produce switchgrass that could grow taller, faster, and have cell walls that are easier to break down, or lead to plants th
|Contact: Todd Mockler|
Oregon State University